Nothing hurts quite so much as being shut out. Have you ever approached a lovely gate leading to an avenue of trees with a mansion you longed to enter almost out of sight around a curve, only to be stopped short by a dignified little sign “Private Property”? Have you looked hopefully toward a marvelous wood door waiting to see if it would swing open to welcome you in for tea? Have you stopped on the beach to admire a beautiful seaside cottage with flagstones leading to the steps and a sign “No Admittance” at the point where sand stops and the green begins? Have you ever knocked at the door of acquaintances who you thought would be glad to get to know you better, seen the curtains move slightly, felt eyes observing you, but then found the door stayed shut? Have you ever had a door open a crack after you had knocked and then suddenly close again with a slam?

Surely sometime in your life you have experienced rebuff in the form of shut doors keeping you outside when you wanted to be inside. It wasn’t just the desire of sharing the fireside and food with the person on the other side of the door but also the desire to communicate, and perhaps to offer something that you thought would be welcome and helpful. Just the words shut door, locked door, barred door, can bring to mind memories of deep disappointment.

Happily, most of us have a longer string of memories of open doors, of shouts of welcome. “Come in! It’s great to have you here! We have been getting ready for you.” We have seen curtains move aside before we have been halfway up the path and the door burst open before we could knock. We have heard cries of, “Tea is ready! Come eat with us. Here, take the most comfortable chair.”

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any ...

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