I have a thing for doors. When I was in Europe, I took just as many pictures of interesting doors I came across as anything else. In fact, except for a waxwork of the queen and a tiny stained-glass window, the only things I photographed in Warwick were doors. I'm not sure what it is about them that seems so romantic to me, but I distinctly remember a pink door in our neighborhood in Chicago which charmed the pants right off me, so I'm pretty sure it's a deep-seated thing.
Starting with the house we built in Alpine, my mother always painted our front door a welcoming, rustic red. It was a little glimpse of the fiery woman my mother was, a splash of her personality right there, first thing you notice about the house and a telltale sign of the kind of life led inside. That red door became a symbol of home, a beacon that called us to warmth and security and helped us tell people where to park.
But it wasn't the door.
We ascribe so much power to inanimate objects.
The door had nothing to do with the home, yet it seemed like everything. I could step up onto the kickplate after a long day, bathe in the color reflecting off of the door, lean in, and know that this was the place to which I always wanted to return. I would ache for home, and the door would take me there.
I had a long day today. It was just another day in a series of never-endingly-long days that piled up this month. At its close, arms full of all the stuff I take with me and never seem to need, I trudged up the stairs to my apartment. I managed to extract my keys from my armtangle, slipped the key into the lock, and leaned into the door. It swung open in an easy sort of way and I stood in the quiet and the darkness of an unoccupied room.
I was home.
That truth rushed in out of nowhere, filled me up, and spilled over in a thousand thankful prayers.
At work today, I read a manuscript about a woman who suffered from postpartum depression. It's a first-hand account of her struggle to love her newborn son, the trauma the experience caused, and her life after the trial. Near the end of the book, when the author talked about the aftermath, I had this thought:
Where much is given, much is required. But I think the inverse is also true—where much is required, much is given.
That woman had to endure an excruciating few months, which nearly cost her everything. But in the end, she gained a beautiful, healthy family, a deep sense of appreciation for all of the good in her life, empathy for others who suffer from similar ailments, stronger ties to her husband, an unexpected financial opportunity, and countless other blessings. The Lord required much of her, and when she had given everything, He gave her so much more than she could have asked for.
I've been lost the last few years. If it's possible to wander from one day to the next, directionless, confused, and desperate, that's what I've been doing. Having spent more nights sleeping on the couch than in my bed just for a change of scenery, missed the bus more times than I can count because I simply couldn't get out of bed in the morning, and been so lonely and helpless that I cried myself to sleep every night for three weeks, I cannot tell you the relief it was to come home tonight and be home.
Truly, where much is required, so very much is given.
My door is a shabby white (and still plastered with paper snowflakes from a heart attack incident in December). The paint is peeling in a few places, the lock sometimes sticks, and I'm pretty sure the weatherstripping needs to be replaced. But when I turn the key and lean into it at the end of a never-endingly-long day, it might as well be a welcoming, rustic red—a symbol of home.