The Door


August 31, 2018

On a quiet street, there’s a house.  It’s a white two story house.  Not new, but not old either.  Jesus stands on the sidewalk out front.  I see the image.  It’s not frozen, but there is no movement.  Just Jesus.  Standing in the warm sun looking at the house.

As he approaches, the door opens.  There she is.  The 50’s housewife, with hair perfectly done in a nice spring dress.  Her apron showing remnants of flour and other staples that were used for the bread in the oven.  She dries her hands as she walks out to meet Jesus.

It’s a pleasant meeting and Jesus is warmly welcomed into her home.  She offers him a seat in the living room as she leaves to collect a pitcher of lemonade and two glasses.

The two sit and talk for quite some time about the weather, gas prices.  She tells Jesus about her new neighbors and Jesus listens with joy.

Eventually, her curiosity gets the best of her.  “Jesus, you’re always welcome in my home, but why are you here today?”

“Can we take a short walk?” he asks.

The two begin their walk by admiring the landscaping around the house.  Jesus goes on and on over the beautiful rose bushes, the iris clusters, the many shades of tulips.  He smiles as he admires the beauty of each one.

At Jesus’ request, the two go back inside.  Jesus stops in the dining room and stands with his hands on the back of one of the chairs.  He breathes in the life that has been experienced around this table.  The times shared with friends and family.  Good times and difficult times all spent around the table.  He leans down on the table with his full weight and can almost feel the life that has been lived around that table.

Next Jesus leads her up the stairs.  She’s a little confused but continues to follow.  He moves from room to room.  Jesus stops at each picture, each memory.  He laughs, he cries.  He touches each face.  The faces of children, so full of life.  Young people with dreams of love and success.  And the aged with a mix of joy and sorrow.  Jesus moves through each room slowly, purposefully.

“Will you come to the basement with me?”  The question made her very uncomfortable.  As she went with him, the joy that his visit first produced began to turn into fear. 

Jesus led her to the door of the basement and then down the stairs.  As they descended, the air began to change.  The temperature began to drop.  The air became damp and smelled of mildew.  The area was darker with the only light coming from small windows near the ceiling.  She followed Jesus but she began to drop back.

Jesus stood in the center of the room for what seemed an eternity.  He looked at the mounds of boxes.  Boxes that had been untouched for years, if not decades.

He approached a small stack of boxes and opened the one on the top.  The fear that the woman had been experiencing was now being coupled with shame.  The shame increased as Jesus opened more boxes and wiped the dust off items that had been packed away and forgotten.

In her shame and fear she fell to the floor and wept.  Jesus quickly moved to her.  He gathered her into his arms on the floor and held her.  As he rocked her back and forth the tears flowed more freely.  A gentle kiss on the forehead and words whispered into her ear began to slow the tears.  Eventually, after some time, she took a deep breath and smiled, the shame and fear melting away.

“I have one more place to go.”  Having been comforted, she watched as Jesus approached a large mound of boxes along the wall.  This time Jesus didn’t open the boxes, he moved them.  As he moved the boxes he exposed a small door.  Curious, she stepped next to Jesus.  As Jesus turned the small knob and opened the door, his countenance changed.  This time he was overcome by sorrow as he opened the door.  Peering in, the woman went from curiosity to intense fear.  “I can’t go in there,” she said.

Jesus gave her a knowing look as he crawled through the doorway.  The light of his presence exposed not a room but a passageway.  As he turned left and continued on his hands and knees, he could no longer be seen by the woman in the doorway.

Jesus continued through the darkness until he came to the end of the passage.  In the corner was a small huddled mass.  It was a child, about six years old.  As Jesus stopped, all that could be heard was the shallow breaths of the child.

He took the child onto his lap.  He began to breathe in unison with her.  Minutes passed.  Hours passed.  Days passed.  And in the darkness, Jesus breathed in unison with the child.

Then it began.  A note so low and so quiet that it could not be heard.  It could only be felt by the child held against the chest of Jesus.  The note grew and was followed by another…and another.  The notes formed a song that Jesus sang over the child.  Jesus sang life into the child and the song filled the room with light.

This story comes from "Tales for the Journey" by Jeff Franks.

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