The three massive, wooden doors were marked with engraved metal plaques above each. The first read “Fear,” the second, “Ignorance,” and the third, “Peace.” She turned to that one first, because though she’d never really known peace, it was a constant desire of her heart.
But the ancient door was blocked by several sword-wielding guards, all at least eight feet tall. They were thoroughly searching anyone who wanted to go in, and she watched as frustration, worry, bitterness, self-pity and fear were stripped from each person before they were allowed to enter. It frightened and offended her they would be so invasive. The thought she would have to be so exposed to go through the door made her feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. Sad and disappointed, she turned her attention to the other two doors.
Ironically, the “Fear” door was more inviting. Though the attendants wore dark, hooded robes which covered their heads, they seemed pleasant, and genuinely interested in each person as they scanned them with the hand-held devices they each carried. Whenever they detected a fear, a small screen to the side would identify it. Nearly everyone’s read, “Fear of Failure,” when the scanner was passed over their heads, and every heart she saw scanned triggered, “Fear of Rejection.” But rather than having their fears taken from them, as “Peace” had done, everyone was given heavy, leathery robes and hoods, uniquely camouflaged so each person could fade into the background of wherever they were.
The “Ignorance” door was even more compelling. The assistants all wore hoodies, large sunglasses, and earphones. She assumed they were listening to something you could dance to, since they all gyrated and spun from person to person in line. There were no scanners; everyone was simply given the same as their hosts—dark glasses, and earphones connected to a small receiver which could fit into a pocket or purse. As each person put the glasses on, he or she smiled broadly, looking everywhere through them. Curious, she asked if she could try them briefly. As she put them over her eyes, the world became a kaleidoscope of living color. As she looked around, she recognized she was seeing the world as she wished it would be.
Intense pain disrupted the reverie, as one of the hoodies pushed earbuds hard into her ears. Though she liked the glasses, she hadn’t asked for them, nor decided this was her door. She raised her hands to take the buds out, but they slowly fell to her sides agains as the sound took over. It wasn’t music everyone was dancing to, but a kind of static, with a deep pulsing beat underneath. It was strange at first, and she thought hers must not be working. But the longer she listened, the more she noticed anything unpleasant was being filtered out of her thoughts. She could still hear the world, with all its problems and pains, but nothing bothered her as much as it had before.
Without another thought, she queued up to continue through the door. She was almost through, when the glasses and earphones were ripped away. Recovering her senses, she was surprised to see it was a guard from the door of Peace, confronting one of the hooded figures.
“She did not choose,” was all he said, but it was enough to make the attendant shudder and drop all the glasses he was holding. He pushed her out of line, back to where she first saw the doors. She sat on the ground, confused and frustrated.
“Fear” and “Ignorance” were so appealing. They were both time-tested ways to deal with the dangerous, unpredictable world. But there was something resonating deep within her about the other door. Despite the cost to go through, the more she focused on Peace, the more at ease she became about what she’d be giving up to have it. Peace had rescued her from Ignorance, and for the first time in a long time, opened her heart to the possibility someone might actually care about her. She stood, and walked toward the door.
What she’d judged previously was not what she experienced. There was a mirror she hadn’t noticed before, which showed her as she truly was. The anxiety, self-doubt, and all the fears she carried were revealed in the mirror as huge, rusted chains, some wound tightly around heart. She almost panicked at the sight of what she’d been living with, and pleaded for them to be taken away. The guards were not rough, but exceedingly kind as they removed each one. Oil and wine were gently poured on the damaged areas, healing her inside and out.
Instead of walking through the door naked as she expected, garments were put on her that were beautiful, light, and comfortable, yet incredibly strong. Though they were new, they felt like they’d always been her favorite clothes. She looked down and marveled at how they glowed when the door was opened for her. As she lifted her head, there stood Jesus, grinning so widely she thought he would burst into laughter at any moment. The Prince of Peace took her by the hand, and walked with her into the next part of her adventure.