It seems like an important day to me. Perhaps I just make it one, I choose for it to be one, by drawing a line and shutting a door…
On 7th June I saw this old door standing open again. You may remember that this particular door has been significant in my journey over the past 2 years – strange but true! – the ‘old door with the new lock marked ERA’ – see A new ERA and The battle at the gate for the story behind that.
Then there was the time I saw it ajar with twin open padlocks lying on the ground inside (!?!) I wrote about that day in EST 1403 – but here’s the picture again, so we can all believe our eyes! I still can’t imagine how that happened, how all these crazy things have happened on certain significant days when I have walked down that street and past that door – which usually remains steadfastly locked! – but I took it by faith as another sign. I have to say the sign did not lie – there has been a marked ‘opening up’ of my prison since mid-March!
So what was June 7th about? I have been pondering that – and also pondering what the writing on the wall has to say – to me and to us all. Someone certainly hadn’t taken any notice of it, or I wouldn’t have seen the chalked blue message at all! If I really believe we have been passing through a door into a new era, encountering the battle, experiencing new freedom, what does it mean to pass right through and shut the past behind us?
7 is the perfect number – completion: I began to think 7th June was about the whole month rather than just one random day… and this has certainly been an amazing month for this family! On the last day of May we returned from Menorca, tired and frustrated at our situation despite having had 10 days in the sun: we knew something had to shift – our relationships were very fragile because Sam and Jessa needed their own space as much as we did. As you will know if you have been following this blog, since then everything has happened very fast: now at the end of June they are in their own place, engaged, coping well and we have just legally agreed on the purchase of their own home. We are all 100% happier!
But there was one significant event that happened on 7th June as well: that Tuesday afternoon my dear friend Helen passed through death’s door into heaven. That is one door that is firmly closed behind us – there is no return from there! So perhaps that is a reminder too – to shake off ‘the dust of death’ as we decide to firmly close the door on the struggles and pain of the past and look to what is coming. Much of our experience of Sam being upstairs in our home for 3 years was a feeling of ‘living death’ – the heaviness of a constant battle with despair, pointlessness, lethargy, lifelessness… But now there is space and freshness in the atmosphere, in his room, in the house: although there is no medical ‘all clear’ life does have hope and purpose again, it is no longer stagnant but moving forward. I could choose to fret and worry, or look back on what is lost, but it is better for me to look up and forward 🙂
As Frederick Buechner says, ‘We find by losing. We hold fast by letting go. We become something new by ceasing to be something old.’ Listening to your life p174 There comes a time for mourning over the past to cease and widow’s weeds to be put off. I heard of a believer who was just getting married for the 4th time: his first 3 wives had all died. He decided to mourn them each for 40 days and then get on with his life…! What would he have missed if he hadn’t? This is surely a time like that.
Today June ends – at midnight we pass from the 6th month to the 7th – if you know the numerical symbolism, perhaps we could say from man’s efforts to God’s fullness. It marks the middle of the year – 6 months behind us and 6 months in front of us: it is the watershed in the watershed year! I am standing on the mountain top looking at a new view! I have struggled to the summit and the descent will also be hard going, but at this point I will leave the old scenery behind and set my face towards a new valley: this is where the flow of water changes direction.
This is not just a personal matter. Today is the public sector strike against pension changes bringing transport and education to a halt across the nation – as significant a trial of strength between the Coalition government and the unions as we have seen for a long time. On the news this morning the announcer said, “We have yet to see which way public opinion will go” – there is so much to watch and pray about in our land in this key transition year!
As for me, I will get up to the high mountain and say to the cities of Judah, here is your God (Isaiah 40v9). I will stand on the summit and catch my breath as I gather my strength for the next part of the journey. I will BANG that door behind me and welcome July as the river of life takes us into new possibilities and prospects. Like Deborah I will tell myself, ‘March on, my soul, be strong!’