When you first move into a house, there are a number of things you do right away to make it your own. You paint the walls, arrange your furniture, and plant some of your favorite plants. Then comes the more tedious task of choosing window treatments. Curtains or blinds? If blinds, should they be vertical or horizontal? Fabric, cellulose, bamboo, or other? If you have curtains, should you have shears or no shears? Pulled back or down? Valence? Cornice board? Rod pocket, tab top, or rings? And we haven’t even begun to talk about color and fabric choices. The number of options that are available are mind-numbing, and some people go through dozens of options to find just the right combination of style, privacy, and allowing in sunlight.
While all this is going on, most people are going in and out through their exterior doors, not giving much thought to what they look like. So long as they are functional, they’re largely forgotten and left to the end of the move-in to-do list. Do the locks work? Great. Anyway, have we considered Roman blinds for the upstairs bedroom, maybe in a thin cotton?
If you live in a house long enough, you wind up replacing the windows and doors, and when you do, the situation is reversed. It is now the doors’ turn to get the attention. Wood, fiberglass, or steel? Color? Grain? Style? Number of panels? Do you want a window in the door? Where? How big? Matching sidelight? What level of privacy do you want? Replacing windows is much easier. After all, unless you live in a church, the point of all that glass in your house is to look through it, not at it.
Ultimately, doors and windows share the same purpose of keeping what’s inside in and what’s outside out. But the similarities end there. A solid door prevents those inside from seeing out as much as it prevents those outside from seeing in. But windows work both ways. We put up window treatments to beautify the inside and give us a measure of privacy from the outside, but by and large everyone loves a living room with lots of natural light coming in. And when we go on vacation we put lights on timers so that people outside can see the glow from our windows and assume that someone is home.
At our baptism, the stain of original sin is washed from the windows of our souls. Every word of scripture is another lamp placed within us. And every time we receive our Lord in the Eucharist, we receive “the true Light, which illuminates every man” so that He will turn on those lamps within is.
But, like choosing window treatments and options for doors, there are still choices of what happens with that light.
We can choose to keep that light trapped within us. We can make ourselves so good at keeping the outside out and the inside in that people on the outside don’t even know that there’s any light within. We can become a house with no windows, only a solid door.
Or we can choose to allow that light to stream from us. We can live as true apostles and let the light shine so brightly that no one notices the windows because all they can see is the light of Christ beaming from within. We can become a glass house that illuminates the lives of others.
This is not just a choice we make once. It is a choice we make many times every day. With every interaction we can choose to be a door. Or we can choose to be a window.