It's taken me two days to write this. I hope you enjoy reading it. And I hope you take something worthily from it after you've read it.
The story/poem starts out....
I seen an old man the other day, his words I must share today. He spoke of his times of when and what, of his life held, but I didn't realize what he had to really say-- until he shared with me his dream that day. I sit quietly to listen to each work and what it had to say was amazing. It was not a normal dream. As he told it, it was as if traveling in a wonderland of fascination. For what he seen within his dream changed that man, and those with which he shared his dream. It took from it a new meaning of life and how I relate to others. Here is the story.
The Old Mans Dream.
Upon my walk through life many a various colored doors I've seen. And to me each just a door. But today the ones I seen in my dream was not like any other. In my dream I approached each door and somehow it was so much different than any doors I'd ever seen.
"In my dream," he said.... "I walked along a long long street, and all I seen, one after another were endless rows of colorful doors. And I felt it was my life's walk. I could not turn back there was no door to leave. Though I was not lead by ghosts or goblins, though I felt-- I had in deed something in this dream to learn.
My life's walk, then began down that street of doors. All along the street were so many colorful beautiful carvings on each door, just as tattoos upon a mans skin. Yet, as I walked I seen each was a closed door. None, not one was open. I was curious to see what each held inside behind the closed doors shut so tight. But how could I, they were all closed, so to each I had to approach. I wondered should I knock? Should I yell, to see if anyone was home. But I did not.
In my dream I recalled I had approached over time other doors through life, many many times. But none like these. So I walked on, then I seen a few black doors in a cluster, each glowing and shiny. Each only smiling at one another. It seemed some even seemed to be beaming. Some, I even felt-- were smiling at me, but some shunned me, and frowned at me.
I just a white human I am, I though to myself as I walked. But, yet, sometimes I boldly thought. I am the best white being I've ever known. I felt proud and even arrogant at times. But I walked on, pushing those thoughts aside. Yet, I realized, I somehow felt honored to just be me. Though I am not a door I thought how will the doors ever let me in. I passed the colorful doors and still each shut tight, and remained locked.
I felt myself hopelessly hoping to be any of the doors friend, but how could I, I was human. And as I walked along, I soon came to a large black door standing all by sits self. Its frame was a deep and dark. I stopped. I somehow for a second felt the black doors pain-- to be a door, and that of me he felt he had little to gain. But what did it matter, what I had to gain I soon thought. I looked the door over, and I had nothing to gain.
We stood--me facing that black door. I felt uneasy, yet humbled, and too, yet so much not worthy. But then I felt proud to be me. I stood quietly. I placed my hand upon the door. I did not knock, I left my hand firmly pressed on the door. And many things went through my mind as I thought. I felt what the black door felt, that I lacked of understanding of what it was to be a black door. I was different and could never be a black door. But, as I looked at it-- I felt we were somehow meant to be friends.
I felt again a sudden withdrawing feeling come over me, as if I was not wanted, and I backed away. Should I knock I thought, at that black door? And just me being human-- I felt neither of us ( I or the black door) had anything to gain. I was sure I didn't. So I stepped away. My minds thoughts swirled. Was it how I felt or was it what the door had perceived in me? I wondered which. What could a black door or any other color door do for me... I'm white, and I'm a human? I thought. For some time I walked along the street. I put my hand to each door, and each gave me its thoughts and a slight glimpse at its pain.
Then-- suddenly I was again facing the same black door. I had walked in a circle. But this time there was a slight crack in the door, I could barely peak inside. It was just a large enough crack that I could maybe squeeze in. But I stopped. I felt no need to enter, even aloof. Again, I wondered. Was that what I thought, or was that what the door perceived in me. I stood looking both ways, up and down the street of nothing but colorful doors. I was suddenly on a different street. And as I looked behind me there were much fewer black and yellow doors than red and white ones. I was puzzled.
Then as I walked through my walk of my dream I realized something, some how it made me think my own life." Said the old man to me. I felt as if the doors had something to do with my past, my present, and my future." He stated. I sit quietly and I continued to listen.
He continued. "Soon I seen before me a bright smiling yellow door. I became curious, It was the first yellow door I'd thus far seen that close along the street. I smiled as it smiled at me. What a friendly door, I thought. I looked it over. Its frame was brighter yellow that the door, but I noticed it slanted to the side, not firm and straight like the black, or bold and arrogant and welcoming like the white doors, and it was much narrower too than all the other doors. I stopped to ponder. I thought, I --a white human, I see this door is like the others, but what is it, that it sees so friendly in me? I thought. So I walked on for-- I felt I did not feel it's yellow door pain, and didn't wish even to go inside. It was different, I felt it. It wasn't because I didn't like it or its color. I felt just had no reason I could think of. So I walked on. And besides, I felt sure if I entered I doubted I had anything to gain. The I wondered was that what I felt or was it what the door perceived in me.
As I looked down this street various colors of doors stood out. The white ones seemed more welcoming, but every other black, red and yellow one stood out too. But some faded like smoke, and drifted away in the wind. I walked on to see a smiling tall light brown door. It was the first I'd seen of a brown door. But it appeared from between the black and white doors squeezing between them...suddenly. I studied it with my eyes. I felt I should put my hand on it, but I didn't. Its framing was shaded with both black and white glowing trim. The white part of the door I related to, and somehow I deeply felt it's pain, but the black part of the door was darker and grim. It was shut firmly, and I felt it would not let me in. I went to knock and suddenly I thought I felt part of its pain-- but still another part of me stopped my hand in mid-air. I felt... there was nothing on the other side of the brown door and if there was, there was nothing for me to gain. So I walked on."
The old man looked at me firmly, but calm and relaxed. I was puzzled now and was getting more curious my the moment of what his dream meant. He continued. "Then as I walked on my walk of life, suddenly I seen a white door, blinking brightly, even beaming with a flashing neon sign attached firmly to the door. The sign was saying in big bright red letters "COME IN". I did not even knock, why should I? It was white-- and it had indeed invited me in, I thought.
I opened the door swiftly. There before me was a giant glowing multi-colored maze. Each door to the various mazes were a kaleidoscope of colors. The huge maze was blocking the door. I couldn't get in. Suddenly, I feared it--so I backed out. Yet, knowing, only one way to gain would be to enter and pick one maze but.... I didn't understand why there were mazes, and even why so many. If as the outside of the door was white, it was like me-- white and it had invited me. Why was it so complicated to me. And now my choices flooded my mind. Which one was just the right maze to follow? Which one was for me to find my way to achieve my gain? I thought.
I stood confused in my dream of what next I should do. And then I realized, it was not at all like all the other doors, nor like me--- white, just because it was white. And I then realized clearly it had nothing at all for me to gain. For if I chose the wrong maze, I'd be lost and surely gain nothing. I was so confused. I thought. Yet, as I left it sang out to me, "Do come back again. I know for sure from you I have so (much) more to gain."
I felt so bewildered, it being white I thought it was just for me as it was white too, and I thought it would over look that I was human and it was a door. But the part of me, felt, in deed I had nothing from it to gain.... so I walked on. I just a white human more puzzled than before, still not knowing which door I must enter through to find what it was for me to gain.
As I walked I was soon on another street. I came upon a bright red door. I stood astonished. It was strong and such a bold color of red. It's frame was shaded with firm crisp darker red streaks and swirls of alabaster white along slivering shades of brown. I even seen a slight tinge of yellow along the edges of its firm frame.
I did not feel fear of it though. I just felt it blended in with me somehow, but yet I felt more of it's pain than all the other doors this far. i was confused again. Its wooden, set back in the wood eyes-- darkness flowed, of red and black tears. I just knew if I could get in there it would be all white inside. But I could not, again suddenly I felt there was so much for me to gain, if it allowed me in, but it swelled up and I feared it. So I pulled away. It's door was locked as firm as all the others. So again I walked on. I was wearing weary of nothing but locked door. And no where to get in, but there was no door to leave, so I kept walking.
And as my walk progressed I became tired from all the various locked colored doors I'd passed, again and again. and never getting a chance to see exactly what was inside. And then I wonder what if I knocked and had entered, where each one--- of my life might it have led.
My weary legs ached, and soon I became old and tired. My feet swollen and needing rest. I again came upon a different bold looking black door. It was the last door, so I knocked and I knocked, desperately, and it opened just part way, but when I squeezed through I began smiling too. I seen many colored doors all dancing. Suddenly, together, we danced, we prayed, and we ate, and all the black doors inside were so glad to see me, as if I was a long lost friend, and the white doors glowed and smiled and we held hands, and the red doors patted me on the back, the yellow doors shook my hand. I felt good, and I felt glad. I felt glowing inside, that I had gained so much...... now that I was inside. But then.... they felt my boldness, my humanness, my whiteness becoming bright then dim, then bright again. Maybe.... as if it was my fate not to be anymore in side, no that the inside of me---as being human I was different, or so I perceived. Each door gasped, and then shunned me. I feared-- was it because I was human, or because I was white. and again I feared it was because I was not a door. Was their colors so important they would judge me of it? Shun me? My mind swirled.
They suddenly each door perceived me, they seen no more my pain, and in me they seen nothing to gain. They showed me to the door, and insisted I must exit. They showed to me no maze, they had welcomed me for a while, but then they assumed I was like all that were the color of white, and not a door at all. And quickly the door slammed. They shut me out.
I felt so lost and lonely, even disappointed they had felt this way of me, as all the doors had then disappeared like smoke in the wind, and there I stood in front of a great giant mirror. Clearly I seen upon my face black streaks, and red ones too all swirling over me. There were yellow glints of sparkles around my eyes. The colors were not on me. Each ran through me, as if I was like marble in a rock. All colors that I'd only seen on doors along my way had became a part of me, though they closed me out, they now were a part of me. And I felt deeply each of their pain, but this time, I didn't care what I had to gain. I wanted to go back inside and be among them again. I somehow felt what it was to have each colorful pain, and not in one color of each at a time. Now, as I wore and became each color of each door I did not feel shame or despair. And I walked back to the door. In front of it humbly I stood. Then as the door opened I looked inside and not one thought came to mind of what I had to gain. I entered. We danced, we sang, we prayed, and we united as not just colors, or humans, but greater, as love, and we wore each others pain.
When I woke I realized so much. My walk thought life had led me up to all doors, of various people in my life, but I had met them with a feeling of what of them I had to gain. But what I discovered, I found that being just a human outside I neglected to see the closed door inside of me. I thought I fit into all colored doors, all colors of live, but I discovered too, in my heart I'd held but one color--- white, and one kind---human, and not even--- I'd shunned all colors but white, and not seen an open door within my own heart.
It was clear now, my life had come full circle in my dream. If we constantly think when we meet others what we have to gain from them, or care not of their pain, or that we do not see them as different, or we do not let them into our life. We are to them the closed door. Our door is shut to them. It is not the fact in the dream that they were just different doors, or that they were not just human, or even the various colors of the doors. The fact remained we did not meet each other with open hearts doors. Colors and the differences were what the old man seen, and all of what he had to gain. So, only when he over came that did he see what was inside of himself, for others to see and enter. And clearly see that giving, love and respect were the key to get in worthily.
And what I learned from that old man was then plain. So I must ask. "In your walk through life, is your hearts door open or shut? And who holds the key?"
An he smiled and walked away.
Linda Bates Terrell
Written @ July 22, 2013