Standing outside the Door

A few weeks ago I stood in spring sunshine looking at this door of an old stone dovecote in Monks Risborough.  As you see it was padlocked shut. I was mildly disappointed not to be able to look inside. I was taking part in a Quiet Day for Vocations Advisers - mostly a day of silence when we were free to just sit or wander about the neighbourhood. I wandered and stood and stared and noticed things.


As I studied this closed door I found myself thinking about someone who felt a door had been slammed in their face. I remembered similar experiences that I'd been through in the past. One was really painful to deal with because I had pinned so much hope in the expectation that a door would open. It didn't. With the hindsight of many years I'm grateful, but at the time it was agony.


Trite cliches like "when one door closes, another opens" don't help when you're standing outside the locked door trying to deal with the disappointment and hurt. You simply don't want to see any other doors, open or closed. There is a time to feel and express the feelings before being ready to let go and explore other possibilities. There also comes a time to let go after acknowledging that a false hope has clashed with a reality one cannot change. So there is some wisdom in these words of the telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell,
"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us."
I photographed the dovecote door to use as a reference for a watercolour. I started working on the painting yesterday. It's suddenly become important to do it now because I'm facing another door that seems to be gently closing. It's a case of painting as both prayer and therapy to help deal with a disappointment. The painting is going well and at the moment it has a sunny feel. (I must try not to overdo the shadows). In my painting a sunlit stone path leads to a closed oak door. That's where I'm looking and pondering the meaning of these words of one of my favourite poets:
"I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope 
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; 
wait without love 
for love would be love of the wrong thing; 
there is yet faith 
But the faith and the love and hope are all in the waiting." 
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets


Photo of dovecote door: my own

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