A Musing Table: On "Closing Doors"

Part One: Closed Doors as Unopened Gifts

Christine over at Abbey of the Arts is having a gathering on the theme of closing doors. And it just so happens i'm in the middle of a book that goes into this a bit. The book is from 1949, called "My Heart Shall Not Fear" by Josephine Lawrence. In one scene, a character named Nellie meets a young woman who has completely closed the door to ever having a child, out of fear becuase a friend of hers died in childbirth. Though empathizing, Nellie tries to steer the girl away from just slamming closed such an important door. At one point she tells her "any fear is always worse than the fear itself". And i just cant get that out of my head lately. That so often its when you are actually IN a situtaion that you are given the Grace to get through it...not in the over-worry time beforehand. That's why the worry is often much worse to go through than the situation itself, as odd as it sounds. And so when doors are closed just out of fearful worry, the richness of life can sure dwindle.

Reminds of of a favorite reflection from Margie at The Fruitful Vine:

"I am amazed to find that, now that (my husband's) cancer has recurred, my daily life is not as horrible as I had feared it would be. Fear is one way the Enemy robs and steals from me. Fear robs the joy of the present moment. Fear cannot access the presence of God in the future. Each day is full of the presence of God when I am actually living it. I cannot practice the presence of God in a future day, only today. In other words, when I feed a fear, my imagination of the difficult situation is WITHOUT the presence of God. Don't borrow trouble from tomorrow, for each day has enough trouble of its own. Thank you Lord, that You are in this day with me."

Now my problems aren't anywhere near as deep as this courageous soul's. She has since writing this later lost her husband, and still continues to join suffering with trust rather than becoming drowned in too much fear. I long to learn from her. Becuase honestly, my fear right now is pretty out of control...over bugs.

To some that must sound inane, but allow me to share the full picture here. One of the things i love most about living out here on the "prarie" is the nature here. Never before for instance have i seen mule deer (not to mention a baby mule deer) or owl families out in the wild. Yet here, i see them often, and much more...and its been just amazing. Yet there are also...the bugs. I remember back when living in Portland, i seldom found so much as a spider inside really. Ditto when on the coast. But now here, oh boy...A bit back i discovered (the hard way through an unwelcome vistor found feeding on my leg after a walk ) that this is tick country. So i gave up my favorite walking places in the pretty fields and opted for the open roads instead. Fine. But it hasnt stopped there. Next i discovered there are fleas out and about too (again, the hard way). So...do flea check each time before coming in. A pain, but...fine. Now, yesterday, i discovered there are deer flies in this area too...and one flew right inside yesterday. Not good at all. Those little guys are vicious, they icepick your skin quite painfully i hear and then they draw blood, not to mention spread diseases. So have been mega diligent now about opening and closing the entry door so quickly its like a cartoon blurr...and so far no more have gotten in the house. So....(pressure building)...but... "fine".

Now today, a line has been crossed and things are definitely no longer "fine". I was out on the patio eating dinner and saw a wasp climb inside---as in it went inside the wall of the trailer--- through a hidden crevice he found outside. Obviously the thing must be building a nest in there, and i have no idea how far along it is. I feel very lucky my fiance was there when i saw this or i would have lost it even deeper....but trust me, i still lost it plenty. And am still very shaken up. Though i've (thank you Lord) never been stung to test it, i've been told i'm likely allergic to wasp venom, based on my body's reaction to some other things. And now there may be wasp nest building inside the very walls of my home. I don't even have the option of spraying to get rid of it becuase i cant be around pesticdes at all due to having EI (environmental illness/chemical sensitivity).

I dont know the status of the situation yet. The one wasp that flew in there (the only one we saw fly in anyway) flew out awhile later the same way he came in. I wasnt sure if the opening should be sealed then or not becuase i wasnt sure if any other wasps were in there yet or not...havent seen any, but that doesnt neccesarily mean there arent. So went back and forth and finally decided to seal it...and then that one wasp returned trying to get back in that sealed crevice and when it couldnt get in it flew off. If that was the only wasp in there and we can hunt and seal any hidden openings like crazy asap, we may be saved. If there are more wasps in there already and theyve been sealed in though, ive heared thats bad becuase then they come into the living spaces looking for new exits. I am praying my you know what off...and would appreciate it SO much if anyone wanted to join in. I know this sounds silly, but the fear is real here.

And so yes... looks like i'm probably closing doors out of my fear here. I stopped walking in the fields becuase of the ticks. Stopped being carefree about coming in and out becuase of the fleas (doing bug checks each and every time you come in, well it really takes the ease out of coming and going). Have become a door natzi, opening and closing doors like speedly gonzales so as to not let the deer flies in. And now i am jittery becuase of this potential wasp situation...they sleep at night but are up early, long before i am...and i fear getting stung in my sleep (or when awake too for that matter) if they do end up inside here. And all of this definitey impacts my relationship with my fiance too, becuase i need him to do the same steps i am here so he doesnt bring in bugs either...something he is having a stressful time with. Fear is definitely shaping life here in its own way, and closing doors, and its likely not good. But im not sure what to do exactly. Caution here is healthy i think, and diligence too.....but i dont know how to draw the line to stop fear from taking root and knocking out trust. Been trying to pray and breathe deep and read the qoutes above over and over too. Maybe it really is true that "any fear is always worse than the fear itself".

Part Two: Closed Doors as a Walled Garden

That book i qouted from was from 1949 as mentioned. Its been a wonderful book so far (still reading it) and most stuff there feels hugely applicable still today. The avoiding closing good doors out of fear part included. And yet..... it also seems that the bigger trap today is about being afriad to close the surplus doors (and boy do we open surplus doors today!). There can't be too many open doors in life and still leave a person with a calm and peaceful life. The theme now seems to be an increasing overdrive in expansion, speed and busyness....which doesnt exactly give you a container, leaves you without the healing limits of a true home, doesnt let you take root and prune and bloom.

I'm reminded of a dream, from back on Candlemas. I have this really neat stick in real life, it came from a beach walk and rests on a shelf above the table. In the dream, i woke up one morning and saw that my plain beach stick now had a fresh live green bud growing out of it, like a little Jesse Tree, and it also had these really lovely intricate scrolls carved all over the wood now. I was holding in the dream, treasuring it, and thinking....so this is why we need to simplify, because it will all get em-bell-ished in the end. In the dream i was looking around the room, thinking what it would be like if i had a lot of clutter and it all suddenly bloomed and embellished. It would be totally overwhleming, painful really, confusion. But this stick in the purposely sparse room blooming...well that felt so peaceful and rich.

Later after the dream i realized its more than this too...that that blooming may not even be able to properly happen at all if things arent pruned back and simplified...in short, some real doors must be closed, or kept closed, for a deep life. Am reminded of a few favorite posts here. A qoute from one of them, from Sailing By Starlight, is this:

"Peace means a giving up of something. Something that defines. To let God's light to seep through the hard outlines of ourselves. Like ink across an etching.

Psalms 147:14 "He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat."

Before I had children I had more time, more money, more so called freedom, many different choices and a lot less responsibility. Yet there was no peace.

I struggled, I searched I pressed on. I filled my days with things, and questions, and wishing and waiting, and then more things...

Peace. can only be held in an empty cup. "

For the other favorites on this "closing doors as healing" theme....well, i'm still a bit wasp stressed right now so think will just list the links (just press each one to go to the posts). They are from Study in Brown, Holy Experience, Pursuing Titus 2 (and here too), and the Carmelite view of Holy Poverty.... Definitely worth reading, i promise.

So closing here, i sit here longing to discern which precious doors are being closed just out of lack of trust, longing for that healed. And yet... having too many open doors, our own "surplus doors", is just as real a problem. Closing doors in a sense is a very real part of having a simpler and rooted life, of pruning to bloom, of... deepening peacefulness. Peace is after all one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit....and fruit needs pruning, needs healing "walls" around it, needs limits, to be able to soak up the nourishment it needs to even even bloom at all. A closed door can simply become a wall after all....and we all know how important walls are to a true Home....

(Images from French Word a Day and Lynn Miller)

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