Issue Date: March 4, 2005
By JONI WOELFEL
Following reconciliation with my husband, we relocated to a new area where I industriously went about the task of creating a sense of home. I lived alone five days a week while my husband commuted weekends from his place of business nearly 100 miles away.
Having embraced the past and learned valuable lessons, I felt empowered, enthusiastic and complete. I prayerfully moved through each day with purpose and a sense of well-being. I thought, This is what life is supposed to feel like. I felt I owned my life and my happiness. Many times I thought of the famous painting of Christ knocking on a door that only opens from the inside. The spiritual practice of being an open door to life, God, loved ones and strangers was an aspiration I hoped to keep growing in.
Ironically, as I prayed that I could learn to have an open mind and heart, there was a door in our house that I kept closed, the door to the basement. The unfamiliar creaks from our basement, especially the abrupt, loud knocking sounds from the boiler made me nervous and jumpy. At night before I went to bed, I propped a chair against the door. Sometimes I would sleep with the lights on.
Because the basement is underground and often dark, it represents the deepest realms of the psyche. You have to descend stairs to get there. I thought of the basement of my soul where my deepest fears, wounds, hopes, dreams and memories are kept. Eventually I felt ready to open the door to the basement and leave it open. The ivory carpeted stairs are beautiful, and I grew comfortable walking by the doorway at the top of the stairs or descending to the family room below -- at any time, day or night -- knocking boiler or not.
I decided this is how we should feel about the deepest levels of our spirits, convictions and faith: It is best to leave the door open, allow ourselves to grow comfortably at home there, coming and going often.
Joni Woelfels fourth book, The Edge of Greatness: Empowering Meditations for Life was published last fall by Resurrection Press.
National Catholic Reporter, March 4, 2005
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