I am mindful that this is a website and indeed a blog that is followed and read by folk all over the world. I am truly grateful for this but sometimes it does make me wonder.
One of the things that I wonder about is whether everyone reading my posts ‘gets’ were I am coming from or can relate to some of the things that I talk about.
Oh, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean the symptoms or illnesses or even the thought processes that I often discuss. No, what I am referring to here is more the personal anecdotes or experiences of my past. I wonder about that sometimes and indeed I am very mindful of it now because the basis of this post is very much founded on the noticeable differences between everyday things in my past compared to my current experiences and I wonder if they are the same for you the reader?
Front Doors and Church Doors! Now there are a couple of things that are noticeably different today to how they were when I was younger. (Hm I wonder if you have already worked out the difference?)
For most of my childhood I grew up in long roads of terraced houses. Actually here is a photo which gives you an indication of what one of my family home’s was like…
That picture was actually taken on the occasion of my Christening. So it would have been some 50 years ago now. Well 49 and a half years ago and was taken outside our front door.
Here is another one taken the same day but this time outside the doors of our family church.
I share these photos with you not because I am having a fit of nostalgia but because the title of this post is Front Doors and Church Doors and both of these are shown in these photos and interestingly enough both sets of doors are how I remember them now and how you seldom see them today – they are open.
It is something that I really do remember from my childhood and that I just don’t see nowadays. The front doors to our homes were open most of the time during good weather and the church doors were often open or at least seldom locked during the day time.
As I said earlier, I am mindful that readers of this blog come from all over the world and equally readers of this blog are all different ages. So your experiences may have been different to mine but as I say when I was growing up the front doors to our homes and churches were nearly always unlocked and open.
And whilst I probably didn’t pay it much attention at the time what I realize now is that implicit in their being unlocked and open was indeed a welcome and an openness and a trust that you just don’t seem to get nowadays.
Just as folk were always popping into each others houses for tea or coffee and a chat folk would often pop into church just for a quiet time of reflection or a time of prayer and they were more than welcome and totally at liberty to do so in both situations.
And do you know what? Just as those open and unlocked front doors to our homes and churches were indicative of the times that I grew up in and indeed that welcome and openness and trust that I spoke of before. Our all too often closed and locked front doors to our homes and churches are I think just as indicative of the times that we live in today and of the apparent lack of openness, welcome and trust nowadays.
This truly saddens me but what saddens me even more is how I truly believe that these difference are also indicative of our approach to our lives and our hearts.
I truly believe that just as the doorways to our homes and our churches are all too often closed and locked nowadays so too, in my opinion, are the doorways to our lives and hearts.
Just as inviting you into my home allows you to see how I live, inviting you to come to my church allows you to see how I worship and what my core values are.
But do we do that enough nowadays? Are we all becoming far too insular and far too private in our approaches?
Just as those front doors and church doors more often or not remain closed and locked with a selective caution employed about who we open them too and when we open them up nowadays. Is it not also true that we have learned to close and lock the front doors to our lives and our hearts and to be just as selective about who we open them up to?
Now I totally understand that without homes and our churches we do this principally because we can’t trust people not to misuse or abuse, to rob and vandalize them and isn’t this the case also when it comes to our lives and our hearts? That we are frightened that they and thus we will be misused, abused, robbed, and/or vandalized in some way?
Of course sometimes we don’t open up our homes because we are embarrassed by them and think there is something wrong with them or don’t invite people to our church because we are frightened of being judged or ridiculed. And again isn’t that true also of our lives and our hearts sometimes?
I have to be honest here and admit that when it comes to mental illness this often plays a very large part in why we are extremely selective about who we open our lives and/or our hearts to. We have a fear of being judged and/or ridiculed as well as a fear of our suffering some form of misuse or even abuse or of having our trust robbed or even vandalized. And to be totally honest I think this is a very natural reaction.
But what about love? What about healing? What about shared experiences, companionship and nurturing and growth?
Today is (or at least was when I started writing this post) New Year’s Eve 2011 – did you really expect to get away without my having mentioned it? – and of course it is the day when a lot of people make New Year Resolutions and send New Year’s greetings.
The making of New Year Resolutions is a tradition believed to have been started as far back as 153 BC when Janus (who in mythology was the god of beginnings and transitions) was placed at the head of the calendar and one that is still very much alive today. It is also a tradition in which I personally don’t participate on the grounds that most resolutions tend to be things that we should have started doing any other day of the year.
BUT if I were to make a New Year resolution or send a New Year Greeting it would have to be one that recognized my need, and indeed I feel all of our need, for love, healing, shared experiences, companionship, nurturing and growth.
So my New Year Greeting to all of you who have been such a blessing in following this blog and indeed in supporting and encouraging me is to wish you a super 2012 and to hope that each and every one of us will make the coming year a year when we don’t have closed front doors and locked Church doors when it comes to our lives and hearts but instead learn to open them and to benefit from as much love, healing, shared experiences, companionship, nurturing and growth as possible.