The Gate, Part II

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Bethany Suckrow -The Gate, Partll4

Here is a thing that I’m learning:

At some point in your life, you will walk through the gate that someone’s life made for you–a space in the exact shape of their unique, specific being, much the same shape as a question mark, so that you can finally enter the world. It will change everything you thought you knew, and you may have more questions than answers but it won’t be a bad thing.

And in another point in your life, you will be the gate for someone else to walk through.

As I’ve written before, the gate I walked through was my mother’s life. But when I shared that post last month I was only thinking about how grateful I was for the space that she created for me. It wasn’t until I read Lynn Morrissey’s comment that I thought about the gate I might become for someone else:

“I sense that [your mother] entered many gates into people’s hearts, many gates through which she administered compassion and generosity. I sense that she herself was a gateway—yes, in being a conduit to your birth—but also a gate through which people could enter freely to been seen and heard by her… It is really a breathtaking thought—to be a gate, and not a barred door. Jesus said that He was the gate and that all who enter by Him will be saved. Jesus was a kind, good, and gentle shepherd. Would that we would all be kind and gentle so that others might be drawn through the gate to Him. Would that we would emulate Him in all His ways.”

Oh, to be the gate and not the barred door.

To embody a Gospel that simple and profound.

To walk through the gate, and then turn around and hold it open for someone else to walk through.

To make my life in the shape of a question for someone to ask, so that they might discover more empathy and love.

I’ve had to lay down the mantle of evangelicalism a thousand times over, to forgive myself and accept the fact that converting everyone and correcting people’s lives was a poor interpretation of the Gospel that I could never fulfill.

But what then, is my purpose?

It turns out that giving people the freedom to be themselves in my post-evangelical life has freed me in a way that I haven’t known what to do with. My identity was so wrapped up in the idea of fixing everything and having all the right answers. Who am I now? What do I do instead?

In this part of my life, it’s the small moments of grace that are reshaping me. It happens in comments sections and conversations and podcast episodes and pages of my favorite books. Grace upon grace, I’m bending and stretching toward something honest and beautiful. And I have long since given up on being the gatekeeper or having the market cornered on Absolute Truth. I am grateful, even for the pain of it.

There is more space, there is more room, there is more love. Come in, come in.

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Bethany Suckrow
I’m a writer and blogger at at bethanysuckrow.com, where I shares both prose and poetry on faith, grace, grief and hope. I am currently working on my first book, a memoir about losing my mother to cancer. My musician-husband, Matt, and I live in transition as we move our life from the Chicago suburbs to Nashville.
Bethany Suckrow
Bethany Suckrow

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