I just tried to post and lost it, but will try again hurriedly to wish all a happy St. Francis Day and to say thanks for the greetings and birthday wishes to me, too. I'm happily ensconced at Monna Lisa Hotel in Florence. The management sent me a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine, aptly named Monna Lisa Chardonnay. Yea!
I hit the streets as soon as I could and found a favorite ristorante on Piazza San Marco where I enjoyed Aristos, a pork loin chop with pureed fennel. Yum. Then just traipsed around enjoying the sights and sounds of folks enjoying a warm fall afternoon, eating gellato, drinking those dinky, but strong cups of coffee, walking their dogs and enjoying friends. I touristed some in a church I'd never gone to before it was lovely.
So here I am starting my 60th year. In the last 6 months or so I've been thinking a lot about doors. I think it all began when I heard a CD of Clarissa Pinkola Estes reading her poem, Abre La Puerto, which translates, "open the door." She repeatedly invites/commands the reader to open the door because behind or within every door is God. She insists that opening the door to children, the homeless, your partner, your hurts, and the hurts of the whole creation will lead you to encounter God, because God is there in them and with them.
Doors suggest new beginnings bkut also limitations. Doors open, but they also close. They can keep you in or out depending on which side you are on. Or they can keep others close at hand or at bay, as well.
On my first visit abroad, a friend and I arrived on a very late flight into Bergen, Norway. We knew there were no available rooms because of the Grieg festival, but by gum, we had our plane reservations and we were bound and determined to use them. The airport manager agreed to let us spend the rainy night in the airport, but he insisted on locking us in, but said he would return in the morning to free us. (at least that is how we interpreted it) That event reminds me that some times we feel trapped by our own volition and need for security and sometimes we feel trapped by the wants and needs of others. This event also has served as a kind of metaphor for me. When I have the opportunity to open a door and discover "Norway" will I do it or will I stay in relative safety, just looking out the door, wondering what Norway has to offer and where God is beckoning me onward.
I sometimes wonder what doors I have slammed shut and kept others out or when I've opened them wide and welcomed them in, even aware that they will track in mud with all their issues, problems and stuff, but also almost always had a message of God working in and through them, if I only have ears to hear and a heart to understand. Sometimes I've chosen one way, sometimes another.
The threshold of every door is a liminal space; a momentary place in time between entering and leaving. For just that bit of time, one is going out, coming in, coming out, going in. It will never be the same again, even when it is the same door.
And so tomorrow it is on to Cordon Bleu of Florence--4 days of opening new spices, learning new techniques, tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. Open your mouth, open your eyes, open the door. Abre La Puerta.