I banged my forehead on the closed door. Awakened at 2:20 in the morning, I wandered into my study to read for a while. The bump hurt a bit but the warm light in the room diverted my attention to the door. It is painted white. It is old-fashioned with segments etched into five panels on both sides. The oval handle is faded brass but has a nice feel when grasped.
The door is an entrance to this room, which is really a bedroom. So many different people have slept in this room, made love, had arguments and stretched while arising from sleep. The entrance now looks in on books, a computer, desk, a couple of chairs and a red, green and blue oriental rug.
In this room doors opened to my memory. I wrote a memoir in this room. What a delight to go over my life full of great joy, wonderful parents, brother, sports, girl friends, marriage and children. My early life was a door to a good education, successful career and retirement.
There was deep sadness too, divorce, separation from my daughters and the deaths of my parents and a grandson.
Yet even this distress was a door to new life. My daughters and I remain close. Married again, my second wife gives me utter joy. I learned how to be truly married. We learned to tell the truth, express affection and forgive quickly.
Recently, I banged my head on another door, the door to God. Reading about metaphor, I entered into a new way for me to think about God. I just can’t pray to the “ground of all being” and “God is being itself.” The philosophy and theology is fine. But how to pray? I now pray to God, the father. I wish I could say God the mother. That does not work for me. I wish it did. It will work for many other men and women.
God the father is personal, intimate, a being to whom I can pray. When I pray now to my God, I know God means so much more than a divine parent. But now I can pray to and worship a personal God, a metaphor for the “ground of all being.” I also am thankful that God has given me this gift of knowing God.
Jesus opened another door for me. I struggle with Jesus as truly God and truly man; the Trinity perplexes and redemption confuses. One day I entered a way of looking at Jesus. Focusing on Jesus’ ministry, I sensed the best thing for me to do is to use his work as an exemplar of my own. We are called to be healers, workers for the poor and hungry and fighters for justice for all. I stopped worrying about right doctrine. The church’s orthodoxy is intact. I rejoice in a simple, direct and hands on work in the world.
Sometimes banging on doors brings entrance into new light.