I open my eyes in an undisclosed location and careen my neck to take in the entirety of a massive wooden door framing my perspective. The mahogany is solid and smooth, and resounds invitingly when tentatively tapped. Luxury and foreboding write themselves behind my eyes as I ask myself what could possibly lie behind such a door. I have no recollection of sleeping or waking or the manifestation of this door. Perhaps I’m dreaming, and my subconscious is trying to tell me something. Just then, a whisper outside myself prompts me to peek into a keyhole suspended at eye level. There’s nothing but a faint message inside the keyhole’s borders. It reads, “everything is good in its time.” I take a shocked step back. What is this? Philosophy hour? Am I really expected to take unwarranted advice from aimless scribe on a recycled tree?? I’m rebuked suddenly by the return of the ominous whisper. This time it tells me to knock. Knock? I scoff. Why? This whole setup is becoming more sketchy by the second. I glance to my left and my right and am unsurprised by this point to discover more doors. They seem to bridge Heaven and Earth, and stretch the length of the horizon. They’re various shapes and sizes; no two are identical. Each door is accompanied by its own wayfarer. They’re equally as diverse as the doors however they share their own variations of the same expressions of confusion and bewilderment. Ah, just what I need- more hallucinations. Oh well, they all seems to be opening their doors and stepping into oblivion. My gaze returns to the mammoth entrance way that- when looked at directly- blocks out the view of all other surroundings. I stretch out my hand, but I’m not tall enough to reach the knob without a superhuman leap. Feeling pressured by the rapidly disappearing strangers, I finally coax my fist into giving the door three raps in hurried succession. Seconds pass and nothing happens, so I try it again, this time a little harder and more deliberately. Still nothing. After minutes of watching all the other strangers pass through their open doors with delighted faces, while mine refuses to budge, I halt. What gives? That’s the last time I listen to ominous voices inside my head. Defeated, I pivot and slide my back down to the base of the door. Head resting on my knees, I stew for what seems like an eternity. Without warning, the storm brewing inside me seems to take shape on the far reaches of the horizon of doors. It rumbles closer, cloaking the sky with smokey, unfriendly clouds. My heartbeat quickens and I rise to stare in horror at the procession of storm clouds. A paralyzing fear unlike anything I’ve ever felt grips my trembling form. My throat clenches, stifling any scream that could’ve escaped. The only thing that diffuses is a terrified formation of tears that drudges and drips down and away from my cheeks and what seems like the source of the storm. Even my own tears are running away from me. There is no comfort for my despairing soul. I slouch back into a crouch and sob. I did not ask to be placed on this path, in front of this door. I did not ask for this journey, this life, or this fate. Yet here I am fated with disaster with no refuge, relief or escape in sight. Please, I plead with the air, unsure of my audience. Please, if there’s a way out of this mess, show yourself. Please, I can’t do this alone. Suddenly, I hear an almost imperceptible click behind me. Hinges whine, and I whip around to gape at the now open door. I peer through but see nothing. Step inside, a whisper once again invites. I am almost reviled at the audacity. This whisper got me into this mess and is now- like a clown offering a balloon animal to a terrified toddler- offering me a way out. I defiantly push away from the invitation and turn once again to face the storm. But my subsided fear crawls back and crashes over me like a tidal wave and suddenly I am drowning. I am suffocating. My head thrashes over and under the waves and I am only able to choke out two words against the torment. SHOW YOURSELF! I cry, and then I am thrown onto shore as if spit out by a great fish. It takes more than a second to catch my fleeting breath, and I can still feel the sulfurous, salty spray now at my back. Like a child at midnight on Christmas Eve, I am exhausted, but amazed at the light that now emanates from the opening of this tree. What was once the pinnacle of my suffering now hints at a promise of escape. I rise, brush the sand from my shaky legs, and stumble towards the light. Another man’s life fasts forward past my eyes. I see a manger, temples, sandled feet, fish, many followers and 12 recurring faces. The face of the man is soft and warm and welcoming. I recognize it reluctantly as a perfect match for the mysterious whisper that followed me throughout this whole peculiar journey. The man’s face crumples at something unbeknownst to me. It’s as if he’s seeing his future. His tears turn to blood, and then I see his future too. He hangs innocently on a tree, breathing his last breaths to pay the penalty for a debt he does not owe. Along with himself and his suffering, he carries to his death my suffering, and everyone else’s too. The weight of all creation is carried on the bloody shoulders of this man. His final cry of anguish is the last thing I hear before my vision fades back to the blinding light, and then returns to reality. There is a cross propped up on the sand in front of me. I pick up a note at my feet and read it. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” As soon as my eyes scan the last word, the message disintegrates. Now there’s only me, my past, and my future; my death and my life. With a new resolve, understanding, and finality, I close the door and it collapses into dust. Then, I turn, pick up my cross, and follow my Lord into new life.