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Doors, Symbolized

Text by: Christine Pethel
I’ll let you in on a little secret — when Jacque and I first chose “Doors” as our very first issue theme for the Polite Society Magazine, I wasn’t very confident that we would find an overabundance of information on the subject. You can imagine my surprise, then, how much information I found while completing my research. I stumbled across myriads of symbols, idioms, and fun facts that all came pouring out and unfolding before my eyes. It was then that I realized how much information was out there that could be likened to the purpose of what we wanted to accomplish for our first themed month…all by the mere mention of one four-letter-word... door. Amongst my findings, I learned that a door can not only be used as a symbol of respect, but alternatively as a symbol of disrespect as well. Some examples of this would be: a front door that is opened to you welcomes you in and offers you a feeling of regard by the welcomer, while a door being SLAMMED in your face leaves you with a feeling of rejection and disdain. Furthermore, the act of “wiping the dust from one’s feet at another’s doorway” is considered an act of disavowal or renouncement of anyone in the household, a very serious action. I let my thoughts wander as I imagined the feeling I received when my husband opened the car door for me on our first date. I’ll admit, I felt a few flutters inside because of his small act, which was then accompanied by a feeling of respect and admiration for his chivalry, something a little hard to find nowadays. How much more, then, is that feeling deepened when, after 25 years of marriage, his sister’s husband still opens not only the car door, but every other door for the woman he loves? A door can be an entryway to new things, or a separation from an unwanted past. It can give us privacy and peace, or keep us locked up in sadness. Doors are used for choices, as in a game show, or in religion as a passageway to being with God. And in some cultures, the type of door, whether antique or new, plain or decorated, portrays your wealth and class. My favorite, however, is the way doors can be used for creating mystery and fear in a haunting book, story, movie, or dream. Imagine a story such as this:
© Zen Goddess Photography
The long, dark and shadowy hallway with dim lighting and faded wallpaper extends so far beyond Celia’s view that she can no longer see the musty-smelling carpet’s color, nor it’s threaded wear from its years of terror and misuse. She slowly lifts her foot that has been involuntarily fixed in place and immovable for a matter of only minutes, but what has seemed like years. Her heart is pounding so loudly inside her chest, she can hear it hammering in her ears. But she knows she must move forward. As she does, she sees doorway after doorway, some with light sneaking out from beneath, but many with only pure dark from behind.

She stands at one of the doorways and tries to lift one of her hands… the one that feels as though pure lead is holding her down. So many things could be behind this doorway… she knows that. However, none of them can be any good. But she must escape now through one of them, or she’ll never have another chance. But which doorway should she choose? The last one she opened nearly sucked her in with its black tornado vortex. Behind her, she can hear blood curdling screams filled with sheer terror. But behind the one in front of her, she can still hear the muffled sobs of pure sorrow and misery, which seem to be the lesser of the evils of all the doors there. It can’t be all that bad, can it? She won’t know until she opens the door. The door… Her mind wanders… How can such a small piece of worn wood shield her from harm on one side, but also offer her terror too? It was then that behind her a dark cloud is rushing down from the direction where she first came. She must make a decision…now!… Quickly she spins the handle and throws the door open to find……

I’ve come to realize how important something as simple as a door is, literally and figuratively, in one’s life and in society. Doors are pathways to beautiful things. They can lead you to magnificent fields of flowers, blue waters with white sands, and ancient castles set upon the hill. They can open up to new opportunities. They create endless possibilities. One must simply make the choice to select and open doors that will lead them on a journey of personal growth and inner joy.