I had a revelation during a sleepless night in a cold Russian hotel room. The subject was a narrow doorway. In a foreign country, doorways can be treacherous. Some doorways contain thieves waiting to pounce on unsuspecting tourists. Others lead to wrong corridors and offer the visitor the unwanted opportunity to get lost. It's best to stick with the crowd and use the entrances that many people go through. Yet, in the Russian hotel where we were staying, the best way in was a side door. The main entrance was lined with people who preyed upon guests. We were told to enter through the side where the locals and workers entered. It was a dark and rather scary doorway, in a post-Soviet grey cement with shadows kind of way, but it let us safely into the hotel.
When the revelation came, I saw a large gold-lined promenade. The path was straight, bright and full of travelers. But I could see what they couldn't see, that around the corner there was a straight drop off into a dark cavern. The travelers could only see the abyss after it was too late. The crush of people behind them made it impossible to turn around; they were doomed to fall. It was like a conveyer belt of contented people who suddenly fell unaware into oblivion.
There was also a side street to the golden boulevard but it was hard to find. The entrance was framed with wood and big enough for only one person to pass through at a time. Unlike the golden walkway, this path was rutty, went slightly uphill, and had lots of turns. Less than one of every ten people took that path. Even though they couldn't see around each bend, those smiling and hope filled travelers had learned to walk slowly to find their way.
Christi and I were on that narrow path. It represented our adoption experience. We entered into adopting older children - a path very few take - and were in Russia to complete the process and take our girls home. We didn't know what was waiting for us behind each turn in our path, but we knew we would be okay if we faced the future together.
When the revelation was over, this Scripture passage echoed in my head, "Jesus said, 'Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.'"
Perhaps you are reading this right now also having entered through one of those two gates. Many folks in the Church have been on paths to destruction when somehow the Grace of God showed them a different way. Saint John's is also traveling on a narrow path. We can't see what is around the next corner, but we know that God's grace is with us and that if we approach the future together we will be okay.
- Fr. Dave