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The Door

May 1st, 2012by Bob Wurzelbacher

I had just begun a second master’s program at a small theology school in San Antonio.   It was my first day visiting the library, and I love libraries, so I had spent a good deal of time there before deciding to head back home. I was passing through one of those large gates that scans your body to ensure you aren’t trying to steal a book when I noticed—just in time to avoid a broken nose—that the door did not open for me.

I had just spent the past seven years in undergraduate and graduate school working full-time in large academic libraries, so I had become quite accustomed to the concept that glass doors in university libraries always opened automatically for me. So, naturally, I presumed something must be malfunctioning. I backed up and tried again. It still didn’t open.

I stepped back and waved my arms to try to catch the invisible sensors that had clearly missed me. It still didn’t open.

I stomped on the rug beneath me, because surely the foot sensor was not quite picking me up, which was understandable, since I had been working out and lost some weight recently. It still didn’t open.

I scanned the room for one of those large silver buttons that opens doors for the handicapped. I didn’t see one, but I did see something that looked a little like a button on the sensor thing. I pressed on it. It still didn’t open. But I did end up with some kind of sticky substance on my thumb.

Having tried every conceivable way to open that door that my immensely intelligent brain could come up with, I finally turned to the person at the front desk and asked the helpful librarian there what I thought was a very reasonable question: “How does this door work?”

He looked at me with an expression that can only be described as one that expresses that I must be the dumbest person ever who is also capable of reading a card catalog. He then extended his hand, made a forward motioning gesture,  and said—in the most condescending tone spoken to me since I tried convincing my father that nailing my own personal mailbox on the porch wall next to the family mailbox when I was eight was a good idea—“You push it.”

Of course, I could have said, “Well, EXCUSE ME for thinking perhaps this library was not still operating out of the STONE AGE.”  But I didn’t.  I thanked him graciously and walked out, determined to hide under the nearest sink until every last grandchild of everyone in that library was dead and buried and this horrendous event was long forgotten.

But I didn’t.

It is amazing how easily we can become accustomed to thinking we understand how the world works, when it turns out to be only a small picture of what we have been seeing. It is the same with God.

We can become very accustomed to how we think God works in our lives, and what God’s presence looks like, until we become utterly blind and deaf to what God is actually trying to show us in our lives. Let us pray each day that we may always be able to see what God is trying to do in our lives, and never be as blind as that guy who couldn’t figure out that the best way to open a door was to push it.

Photo: Flickr/Steve Snodgrass

Bob Wurzelbacher

Bob Wurzelbacher serves as Associate Director for the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. He also serves as Pastoral Associate for Liturgy at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart parish in Reading. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Cindy, and two young daughters.