Windows and Doors

Our eyes are the windows of our souls.

I’ve heard this a lot. It’s not in the Bible, although Mark 7:20-23 says that “The eyes are likened to the windows of the heart.” Some say that the origin of the phrase is Old English; others say it is Arabic.

No matter. It just means that you can tell a lot about people from their eyes.

I am drawn to windows. I like a room with a view, a table next to the restaurant window, the window seat in an airplane. Windows let me know that there is an outside and an inside.

I spend a lot of time looking out the window in my office. As a child, I attended church with stained glass windows and a couple of clear windows. I could see at heaven and earth in one sitting. I liked that. I think churches should be designed so that we can look outside, at God’s creation, while the pastor is speaking.

Our office in Honolulu was on Fort Street Mall. The mall was home to many people who would otherwise be homeless. I got to know them – Leilani, the blind woman in a a wheelchair, Carlos, her husband who lost a leg to diabetes, the black man who played his violin, the Japanese woman with a dozen shopping carts, Kimo, the old man who sold newspapers next to McDonalds. I came to know them because I looked directly into their eyes, their windows. I need to make eye contact. Windows seduce me.

But eye contact was not enough. Windows are made off glass after all, impermeable glass that reveals, yet protect, who we are. We are made for relationships. We are not here to window-shop.

So if my eyes are my windows, what part of my house lets people go beyond just peeping through my window? What lets people into my house?

DOORS – I open my door to the outside world, to venture into other people’s lives. And others let me enter their world through their doors. What constitutes our doors? How do our doors connect us to each other?

WORDS – While our eyes are the windows to our souls, our words are our soul’s doorways. What and how we speak determine how we relate to our family, our friends, and strangers who will become our future friends.

Some of us have doors that say, “Beware of dog!” Some of us have doors that are partially open, like the original Dutch door on my family’s apartment that my father immediately replaced with a solid door that had a small square screen window in the middle; it was for security. Some of us have solid, forbidding doors, that say, “Enter at your own risk!”

Some of us put a political symbol or a crucifix over our doorways so that others know they come in only if they share our beliefs.

Here’s the kind of door I want to have on my house. It is made of glass, like a window, transparent. The lights are always on because I never know when someone might want to stop by. Just outside the door, you can smell a pie just out of the oven and a simmering pot of stew.

My door says “Komo mai,” which means “Come in!” in Hawaiian. Or as we say in Texas, “Welcome y’all!”

Yeah . . . this is my door.

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