Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tales for the journey : The Door ( Acceptance)

The door

The wall before me was covered in thick ivy that had grown over the years.  The ivy was strong and the leaves very green.  Yet there was just a hint in the shape of the green covering that suggested there might be something behind it.  Bit by bit, I tore off the resisting stems until the red, crumbling bricks of the wall were revealed.  I searched for many years, tearing away the ivy which, neglected, soon grew again.  Then one day I noticed that there was wood beneath the ivy, and as I carefully took off the leaves and stems I saw that this was a wooden structure and it was the shape of a door.

I examined the door, noticing the strong wood panels, the square strong frame, the veins of the deep oak wood.  There was no doorknob, no keyhole and no key.  The door stood in the wall, mute and mysterious.  Why was it there?  What was on the other side?  Would I ever be able to open it?
I asked a friend to help me.  Together we cleared away the remainder of the ivy, and I explored with my fingernails the crack around the door.  I put my ear close, so close to the wood and listened as hard as I could.  I thought I could hear something but it was only the beating of my own heart.  Together my friend and I debated why the door was there, what may be on the other side.  I sat there for many days staring at the door, dreaming of the day when I might know how to open it and know what was there on the other side.

In my dream a man stood in the open doorway.  How was it that the door had opened?  Beyond the tall figure of the man there was a strange landscape that I thought I knew, but I woke up and the dream faded from my memory, leaving only a sense of loss and isolation.

I grew angry at the mute and silent square shape of the door and I threw myself against it and beat upon it with my fists.  I knew that if I could only open the door then I would know what was on the other side.  I could not go on with my life until I saw that strange landscape that my heart already knew about but my mind could not encompass.  I was obsessed. 
Then I fell to the ground and wept at the injustice of it that the door should be revealed to me so clearly, but I was unable to see it or share in it.  I knew that there were people on the other side of the door and that, if I could pass through that enigmatic space, I would be united with them.  I felt a deep sense that only in that passing through would I be able to taste true happiness.

The days passed and I raged and wept by turns.  Gradually I sank into despair as I waited and waited for some inspiration that would tell me how to open the door.  It was such a thin plank of wood, but impenetrable and shut tight.  It was not locked against me for there was no key, it was simply sealed by a force that I did not understand and did not yield to my strivings however strong or subtle I tried to be with it.  My heart was breaking and my mood was blackened by the sense of being denied the mystery. 

Then one day my heart did break and I was left lying in helplessness.  I was filled with fear that I would never pass beyond the door, that my life would be over and I would never taste the joy and fulfilment that my heart knew was beyond that door.  As I lay I stared at the ground beneath the door, at the soft earth and lay against it.  I realised that I was unable to see the bottom of the door, for the earth had piled up against it and grass had grown in and under it. 

I reached out with my feeble grip and scraped gently at the earth, taking away any obstruction that may stop me glimpsing through the crack beneath the door.  When I scraped away enough I saw that there was no crack, no space to give a glimpse, just the mute and silent wooden face of the door, waiting for me.  What was I to do? 

I lay there in my broken- heartedness and thought and dreamed and asked my heart why it had broken, what terrible hurt had broken it?  And my heart said that I had broken it myself, in my striving.  I had not learned to wait for the door itself to tell me what to do.

So privately, when no one was looking, I asked the door, feeling foolish to be doing such a thing.  As I did so my heart leaped with joy as I knew what to do.  I was to scrape away all the debris that lay on my side of the door, to make the way clear for the door to open, for it was going to open towards me!  I leapt to my feet with renewed energy, and scraped with all my might and main and made a way clear for the door to open.  Then I sat down to watch and wait.

I waited for a long, long time.  I grew angry at the time I was being asked to wait.  I raged at the door, asking, begging it to open, for this had been my life’s work, to find the door and to make it possible to see on the other side.  What more must I do to open this door!

So once more I turned to the door and asked in my heart for guidance, for I knew a great longing and I did not know what I must do.  I knelt before the door, no longer raging, not begging but simply asking for the door to tell me what I must do.  I knelt in silence listening but no answer came.  It was hard to hear because of the noise behind me.  There were people behind me and I wondered what they were doing.

So I turned to see what was going on.  My friends were laughing and singing and holding out their hands to me.  So I went to join them and felt their loving presence.  Somehow, although I did not look behind me, I knew that this is what the door was telling me in my heart: that I should be with my friends and live my life day by day.  Then I knew at last that if I stopped trying to open it then one day, when it was ready, the door would simply swing open towards me and let me in.

With that sure knowledge I set off on the many pathways that lay before me.  My heart was filled with joy, for I knew that, when the time was right, the door would simply be open when I turned to look.  Then I would be free at last to pass through into the place on the other side.

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