When it comes to building stuff I am a pretty handy guy, if I do say so myself. I have a wonderful array of hand and power tools collected over the last 30 years. From something as simple as a bluebird box to the more complex Adirondack porch swing, I can typically figure out what I need and how to build it if you give me enough time and space to make it happen.
One of my favorite objects to craft with are old doors. I have made head-board for beds, bookcases, a dining room table and wall art using the door panels in various forms and fashion. Old doors are pretty easy to find and come in many shapes and sizes. A lot of times I will just buy a door with no purpose in mind of what I will transform it into. It may sit in my garage for months. I will pass by it every day before it tells me what it wants to be (this is a metaphor I really didn’t see the doors lips move because doors don’t have lips).
Before I use a door for a building project I typically have to strip the paint off it. Depending on how old the door is this could take days or for a very old door and many years of families repainting it, weeks. The process is slow, very slow but I get to see all the details of that particular door and you learn a little about it’s past.
Most of the doors I am drawn to are 60 to 80 years old. They are salvaged from houses being torn down, as are the windows, mantles, molding and flooring. These doors are heavy, not made of fir but pine, southern pine still full of heavy resin. I am always amazed that once I get all the paint off and lightly sand the wood, how distinctive the smell of resin is even after all the years of no longer being a tree growing in the forest.
I like the imagery of doors. They are an important part of both our physical and spiritual life. Doors protect us. They make us feel safe and warm. They give us privacy, guarding our actions from prying eyes or shielding our eyes from the actions of others. But we also hide behind them, afraid to venture out or too far from the intoxicating comfort they provide.
Doors have spiritual symbolism as well. Think about faiths that have an “open door policy” or those who use doors to keep their members in and the rest of us out. Doors can be open or closed, two very different places in a faith community. What is the spiritual symbolism of only having the door cracked, unsure of whether to invite us in but nosy enough to want to see what the rest of the world is up too?
Think about the doors in your life, those that guard your possessions and your heart. Do have the key? Do you share the key? Are your doors open, closed or just cracked enough to let a small ray of sunshine stream in?
“Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.” – John Barrymore