January 16th, 2009


Strolling through the historic district of San Juan, Puerto Rico while on vacation, I was captivated by the elaborate doors that flanked the narrow walkways.  Tall and massive, each was a unique spectacle of artistry.  Some had intricate wood carvings while others were adorned with ornate metal work.  Hand-made glass panes with the wave and ripple of molten glass still visible in their frame allowed guarded views of what lay beyond the threshold.  Resembling soldiers in formation, the doors stood erect and immovable, protecting the people and the possessions housed in their structures.  Further down the street I could see doors that were opened wide and like a jewelry box revealing hidden treasures they beckoned me to enter in.

Doorways have a dual purpose, both opening to new possibilities and closing to deny entry.  They are gateways to the ebb and flow of daily living directing movements in and out of spaces.  If a door is open I will naturally move through it to see where it leads, but if it is shut, I will pass by with barely a thought of what might lie inside.  The door to my own home opens to friends and neighbors, welcoming them inside for a hot meal or a cool drink.  Closed, it provides shelter from the wind and rain and privacy as I snuggle with my cat on the brown leather couch in front of the fire.  Its thick wood planks protect me from unwanted intruders but extends its open arms to receive me when I return home.

There are interior doorways too, doors that lead to my heart and to my mind.  These doors invite me to ponder questions such as, “What people and opportunities do I want to be open to in my life right now?  And what things do I need to leave behind or not allow in?”  Some times shutting a door is as gentle as closing up a summer cottage when the season has ended or as harsh as slamming it shut against a violent storm.  Openings can come in similar ways, easily and effortlessly or boldly like a bright light in a dark alley directing me forward.  As I explore the interior terrain of my life I notice openings that are drawing me closer but also places where I need the boundary of a closed door.  The doors of San Juan have taught me to wander towards open doors that hold the promise of new discoveries.

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