Yesterday I ended with words from Joyce Rupp's Open the Door. "Ask, seek, knock." When I arrrived at my room in the House, there was a note for me from my spiritual director, introducing herself and telling me she would not be able to meet me until the next day. While I was slightly disappointed, certainly with the weather I understood. I began to get settled in and had read the "Open the Door" sheet as well. I had come on this weekend alone and having never been here before, knew no one. I pondered what I might do until the evening meal.
Then I heard a tiny knock on the door- when I opened it, there was my spiritual director, who had found the time in her busy day to stop and introduce herself and ask if I had any questions. She gave some useful "lay of the land" tips. Boy, that sure was welcome!
It reminded me that in addition to the "ask, seek, knock" reference, we also hear of Jesus saying "Behold, I stand at the door..." I began to contemplate what this says about prayer- the door to our relationship with God.
Ignatian spirituality teaches looking for God in all things- yes, there was a literal knock at my door- thanks for checking in, God!
Over my first full day on retreat I wondered about keeping silence. I dreamt that I broke the silence and talked to others. But in reality I had not. But when I was out walking, in the snow, trying to take pictures, and trying to look at the stations of the cross and trying to remember what time my appointment with my director was, I slipped on the ice.
And to no one else around me I found myself saying, "you're right, God I DO need to slow down. I am here all weekend." It was like God knocking on the door and reminding me I had promised that this was a weekend when we would talk.
I walked by a snow covered statue of the pilgrim- "you're right, God that is me!"
If anyone had heard me it would have sounded like somewhere in space was the other end of a conversation.
And throughout the weekend there were times I was the one knocking- just wondering, just thinking, can you help me with this?
And then there were those other times where God knocked back.
And instead of prayers of formality, or a litany of carefully constructed petitions and responses,
it was like God and I taking turns walking through the door.
Like good friends sharing time and advice.
My director shared with me a prayer nook that is located just off of the chapel- a space where women could observe worship that they could not be a part of in days past. A special space with iron-grated windows that looked onto the altar and the beautiful mosaic and windows.
It was hard to see through the grate- I began thinking that it was not really a special space for me.
Then I heard- open the door.
I looked and noticed that the center window was made of two swinging panels. They could be opened. And when they were it was as though I could almost reach out and touch the altar- it became sacred space.
As I kneeled there it became a totally "God and me" time- nothing more needed to be said.
So often we think of doors as locking or clicking shut, or needing a key.
Sometimes maybe we see prayer that way- not always available, needing certain keys to work.
But prayer is meant to be not so much a fixed door, but perhaps a swinging door, like moving in and out of conversation - with questions, with news, with all of the things we think of in our closest relationships. Comfortable and easy- where we walk in and hear, "How was your day" or "I've been waiting for you."
Maybe eventually the door would swing back and forth so often we would decide just to take it down and come and go at will.
Sometimes for long sit downs and other times just to drop in.
Never really gone for long.
In many ways God seeks us and God sends people into our path- for those same conversations. How might God be speaking, looking to have a chat?
Who's at your door and what would it mean if you answered?