The Pain of a Shut Door

The Pain of a Shut Door

“He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.” (Luke 4:16).


Her wail was undeniable. The piercing scream reverberated from the second floor, and I knew that my baby girl was in pain. My mother’s instinct also revealed the probable culprit behind her pain. Her brother.

Quickly, they made their way downstairs to offer their explanations. She howled inaudible utterances, while he echoed his apologies…fearing the worst. She was quick to offer up proof of his misdeeds—a tender, red, right-handed thumbnail, which apparently landed itself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The crease of the bathroom doorway.

She wanted in. Her brother wanted her out, and in the brevity of a single moment, Amelia felt the wounding of her brother’s intentional exclusion. She experienced the pain of a shut door.

He didn’t mean to hurt her, but he didn’t deny his culpability in the matter. He meant to shut the door. He simply did not calculate that his means of exclusion would cause a wounding at a deeper level. And therein lies my contemplation.

The pain of a shut door. The taste of exclusion served up on home turf…a place where security and safety should abound. Where doors should remain open and acceptance greets with arms spread wide. A place, unfortunately, that often hosts doors that swing hard and close tightly.

Jesus knew about such exclusions. And unlike my son, those that wanted him “out”, swung with intentional and calculated motives.

Jesus had returned to his familiar. To the place of his nurturing. Nazareth was his home, and the synagogue was his custom. He came to reveal the truth of his identity. To fulfill the prophetic renderings of Isaiah’s sixty-first chapter. To preach, to proclaim, to restore, and to release. To announce to those who knew him best, that indeed, the year of the Lord’s favor had come.

It was a truth they were unwilling to receive. Their eyes were as blind. Their ears were as deaf. Their minds were as dull, and their hearts were as hardened.

“All the people in the synagogue were furious when the heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which they town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked through the crowd and went on his way.” (Luke 4:28-30).

They shut the door on their native son. They closed off the possibility of him being God’s Son. And in the end, Jesus’ wail was undeniable, as his tears wept a painful rejection. It was a rejection felt at the deepest crease of a sacred surrender which landed him in the right place at exactly the right time. They offered no apologies for their intentions. Instead, they offered him nails for his tender flesh, and the misdeeds of their heart wounded red for all the world to witness.

The pain of a shut door.

Indeed, Jesus is familiar with all of our griefs and sufferings. With all of the “shut doors” that slam hard and wound deeply. Some swing with intention. Some swing with little thought. Some swing on home turf, and some swing on the soil of an unfamiliar earth. Regardless of their hinge, they swing, and with their exclusion comes pain.

Jadon did not mean to hurt his sister. Not really. But he knew that by shutting the door, he would maintain control of his surroundings. And when control becomes an issue, almost invariably there is a wounding of another who is caught within its crease.

I have stood on both sides of a shut door. Receiving its pain. Initiating its pain. Either way, there is no kingdom profit from its closure because a shut door equals exclusion. Shut doors separate. Shut doors isolate. Shut doors eliminate the possibility of relationships that were meant for our shaping…for our deepening…for our understanding of what it means to walk and to live in sacred community.

God has determined for us to live our lives as open. As instruments of his intention and his invitation. His door swings wide and was never designed for exclusion, but rather for the inclusion of all peoples…all races…all humanity for all eternity. We are given the privilege of monitoring its swing. We stand as its hinge to make sure that no one is caught in the painful crease of its closure.

When my daughter brought her wounding to my attention, I did what all good mothers do. I offered her a band-aid. She declined and told me that her “blankie” would suffice as her comfort. It did, and today her tears run dry. Her wounding from her brother’s “shut door” is well on its way to healing.

Oh, that all of us could recover so quickly from the pain of a shut door. Band-aids alone are not sufficient. It requires a deeper work. A greater salve. A warmer blanket that covers the entirety of our wound and speaks peace into our suffering.

It requires Jesus. He is our Peace, and through him we come to know healing as healing was meant to be known. Safely, securely, and with an open acceptance on his home turf that greets our pain with arms wide open. And so this day, I pray…

Cover me, Lord, with the healing blanket of your love. Heal the open wounds that have come to me through shut doors. Heal the wounds of others that have come to them through my culpability. Keep my hands to inclusion…never exclusion. And when I am tempted to shut a door on my brother or sister, remind me of the “exclusion” that you embraced so that a door would be opened for all of us to come and walk in salvation’s freedom. Amen.


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16 Responses to The Pain of a Shut Door

  1. I have often wished that, in adulthood (even senior-citizen-hood) I had a blankie …

    Precious story, and such a great analogy as well. Indeed, enfolded in the arms of a loving Father we are safe and comforted; we are strengthend to fight another day … even slamming doors.

    Bless you,
    Kathleen

  2. Hey Elaine,
    What comfort there is in knowing that Jesus has experienced every pain and suffering that can come to me. Whether it be a closed door, wounded heart, failed plans, or stress from everyday life. He has been there before me. And He has overcome. He longs for me to allow him to be my comfort. After all, He is the God of ALL comfort. (II Cor. 1:3)

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. I am currently working with Jennisa for an over-haul. I absolutely cannot wait!! I haven’t been able to get a good nights rest since we started. Such anticipation. Come back and check it out, it should be done soon.
    Lynn

  3. This message both in words and pictures is a reminder that whether we are the recipient or the extender of the pain, we are going to be HIGHLY uncomfortable. How thankful we must all be for the Healer along with the understanding mom and the blankie!
    R&B
    G&G

  4. Elaine, again, this is so beautiful. So thankful, that when doors shut, God’s arms remain open. How often He has been my welcome. He turns no-one away.
    From rejection to rejoicing,
    Joy

  5. Elaine,
    This is Karen from The T.A.G. Blog. I read your comment on Mindy’s blog (Ponderings of the Heart) about wishing you had gotten in on the study “Lies Women Believe” in time. We’d love to have you join us. Grab you a copy of the book and just pick right up with us where we’re at. You can go back and do the chapters you’ve missed on your own and just start right in where we’re at. We are just now getting ready to start dealing with the different lies the author outlines in the book. So this is a great time to jump in! Hope you’ll join us!

    Have a great week!
    Karen
    http://www.homesteadblogger.com/tagblog

  6. Elain,

    This is wonderful and such a delightfully written story. I enjoyed reading this and the application.

    Blessings my friend. Love and hugs, Lynn

  7. Oh My Precious Amelia. How I felt her pain. Thank goodness she had a comforter in her blankie and we all have a comforter in our Jesus. How we as adults have felt the pain of a shut door in so many ways. What a blessing to know we can heal! Kiss that little finger for me.

  8. Hi Elaine,
    What a beautiful post! I really love how you write. Thank you so much for the sweet comment you left on my blog about my daughter & granddaughter. Teen pregnancy…so bittersweet! 🙂 This journey has been nothing shy of incredible, I tell ya. One I wouldn’t have chosen for Alyssa, but one I wouldn’t trade for Amiyah. She is simply precious, gorgeous, sweet & so innocent. Can you tell I’m in love?? 🙂
    Thank you again. I just told my daughter to read your comment. So tenderhearted. Thank you. I know it will encourage her heart big time.
    Love,
    Lelia

  9. I loved this. What a picture. I felt like I was there…bless her sweet heart. AND how many times have I shut the door on Him? Or turned up the “music of my life” so loud so that I wouldn’t hear Him…all too often in my rebellious years.
    Elaine, I will be praying for you—You are a blessing to many—and the Lord will use you to minister to souls—hurting lives—just as you do here…each and every time you sign on and begin plucking away at the keyboard. You are His vessel—willing–and able—His voice in the wilderness of this crazy chaotic world. Go in His name!

  10. wifeforthejourney:

    How gifted you are to turn one of a long line of household mishaps into a faith-lesson for us all.

    One thing I negelcted to tell you about the story, was that during Jadon’s bath (shortly after the shut door) I was lecturing him about how he had to be more careful. He was still very upset and tried several times to interrupt MY advice on what he could have done differently. Exasperated with his tears and repeated “Daddys,” I stopped and said, “Son, what do you want?”

    His reply? “Daddy, I know I was wrong. I want to pray for Amelia.” And so we did. Right there in the tub, Jadon asked God to forgive him and to help his sister’s thumb to feel better. Sin, soap, water, and grace.

    Unfortunately, we cannot always expect the ones who hurt us to repent and ask our forgiveness. But we should never discount the Spirit of God’s ability to teach, apart from the sound of our own voices. My son could not have been more honest in his regret if I had explained to him all the hazards of this life. Of course parents have a responsibility to teach our children right from wrong, but the good news is that our Heavenly Father still speaks.

    Thank you for listening.
    Love, Billy

  11. Still reflecting on this writing Elaine.

    What about the pain of the “open door”? Sometimes God leads us places and opens doors not of our choosing. Doors that bring pain…open doors that still hurt. Doors we would never willingly walk through if it was up to us. Doors that bring heartache, disease, lonliness, pain etc.. Yet, His grace is enough for both the open and closed doors.

    Thanks for stretching my thinking.

    So enjoyed your husbands update on the story – a little child will lead us.

    Father, for a child-like heart I pray,
    Joy

  12. Ouch !! As one who was unfortunate enough (or clumsy enough..) to have gotten her fingers mashed at various and sundry times in the past, my heart goes out to your baby girl. I, too, have known the comfort of a mother’s arms at times like that when I was a little girl. I can remember TWICE getting my fingers mashed in the car door so bad that my fingernails came off. Both times was before I was six years old! I try to watch where I leave my hands nowadays as I remember the PAIN that comes with mashed fingers (or thumbs!) So glad that Jesus said He was leaving a “Comforter” for us! What would we do without Him?

    God bless…
    Marilyn

  13. Elaine, you are a gifted writer! Thank you for today’s post! It brought back memories of the pain, the awful pain of a “shut door” about nine years ago. And I remember thinking at the time that Jesus understood the pain of that “shut door”. I thought about Him when he said, “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem,. . .how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”
    The door was shut and His only motive was to love them and to save them.

    mary

  14. I found your blog by way of Connie’s (Little Red Hearts from God) and I’m so glad! This was such a wonderful illustration and so beautifully written. I especially loved the visual image of God as our comforter when we experience the intense pain of a shut door, like your sweet baby girl. You also challenged me to consider how many times I’m the one guilty of shutting the door. The follow up by your husband about your son’s sweet repentance was precious.
    Blessings,
    Tracy

  15. Hi Elaine…wow, you have such a talent for writing! I was really blessed by this – and challenged.

    I love the look and feel of your blog, I might spend some more time browsing here if you don’t mind 🙂

    And how did I find you? Well curiousity got the better of me – I followed your link from a comment you left on the Preacher’s Wife blog…after reading your ‘collision with the deacon’ story I just had to come meet the lady who made me wet myself laughing 🙂

    Blessings,
    Faraja

  16. Once again you have forced me to look inside of myself. I got the feeling when reading this post that you were writing specifically to me. You have such a beautiful capacity to touch people with your words.

    I hope your beautiful daughter’s boo-boo is healing as well as your son’s tender heart.

    Blessings!

    Liz

    P.S. Stop by my blog between now and noon Friday. I’m having a little celebration and give-away!