“Half-open Door” by Stephen D’Evelyn

My eyes hurt. It’s drizzly, mizzly day heavy with financial worries and general malaise. The weather forecast describes a wet weekend. That means it will be less easy to get space and air. It seems there are so many things you want to do as well as feel you need to do and it’s hard to get them moving. Sitting inside at the desk, I find it’s easy to feel weighed down, closed in.

I go outside. The cleaner who only speaks a little English goes out before me and outs up her white umbrella. A student wearing black Converse All Stars and I dance past each other between puddles. Spatial awareness has always been a little tricky for me and I often over-compensate.

Brilliant green grass. A flashback. I remember having a hard time playing baseball but still loving it. You always had to be a little bit cautious about where and how your body was positioned, respecting the force of the ball and the uncertain distances.

Much later, as a would-be priest in the Church of England before I realised where my heart lay and was received into the Catholic Church, I discovered the hard boundaries of authority that do not allow difference. A stubborn refusal to listen to my arguments for a needs assessment to enable me as visually impaired to meet expectations coupled with a general dismissal of the very idea that a bottom-up shape to things starting with the meeting of an individual’s gifts and the ways their calling might be embodied meant that I was driven to give up.

I felt shut down. Yet down is sometimes where you have to look and when you look there you may find what you’ve got and where to go from there.

Now a fragment of Princess Eugenie’s wedding this summer comes back to me: ‘With my body I honour you…’ When we love someone we let them go first, we do not push ahead. All those only=partly expressed or fulfilled desires wait. We let the other person be other and approach. Across puddles. Through a half-opened door. Perhaps sitting or standing together we confer honour by allowing space.

The half-open door lets in soft grey light. Bare tree branches reach beyond. It’s an expansive kind of space changing slightly as the day goes by. And that space becomes the opening to heaven.


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