I thought about the door all day yesterday. A couple weekends ago we went to Colchester Castle museum to see an exhibit called 'Beyond the Lable' an exhibit on disability. The exhibit was largely disappointing and in some respects startlingly wrongheaded but there was a small part of it that really caught me. They had installed a huge, huge door from one of the institutions. Beside the door was the enormous ring of keys that would have been carried by staff as they walked the halls and locked in life behind them.
It was a sturdy door. A door made to withstand attack. No flimsy garden gate this barrier. This was a door with intent, with an incredible sense of purpose. I touched it and it felt like what it was 'captivity'. The 'doorness' was enhanced by the hole for the key, it took the barest amount of imagination to hear the sound of the tumblers falling and the door being firmly and resolutely locked.
What were they afraid of ... the one's who commissioned this doors birth? Surely they feared no one breaking in ... they must have feared that the life behind the walls would one day want to be free, would one day stampede for the exit, would one day use their will for freedom as a battering ram. This was the door that was meant to hold back what might burst forth. This was a door built, not for now, but for then - that future when the locked away would want to be the let free.
I thought of that door all day yesterday. The Paradigm conference manages to pull of a miracle of inclusion and celebration and education every year. Yesterday the day began with ... drum roll ... the world's first inclusive pop band put together by 'The Movable Feast'. The stage was taken by several dancer - singers, at least five of which had Down Syndrome. Then the music started, the party happened. Those with and without disabilities performed, dancing a choreographed step, singing a song written specifically for the group. It was impossible not to get chills, not to have tears well in the eyes.
It was in that moment, I thought of that door hanging, silently on display, disused and unnecessary, an ignoble death. This is what that door feared. That life would catch in these hearts and there would be a passion to live. There would be a need to express joy. That these kids with Down Syndrome on the stage, these people with disabilities in the audience, these carers watching, all of us in the room, would need community like faith needs God.
I wonder if that door could speak, if it would have the courage to say, 'Sorry.'