A man walks through a doorway.

It seems simple enough. “Just the facts Ma’am.”  Just a man. Just a doorway.

Except that it is NEVER just a man or just a doorway. There are stories stuck like glue to both man and doorway.

Is it a man whose exit marks the abandonment of a family? Is it a doorway in a home that they really couldn’t afford and now his wife is left with mounting bills and three kids to feed?

Is it Nelson Mandela stepping through the doorway of a prison into freedom and into his world-changing destiny?

Is it one of the men who stepped through the doorway into the holy of holies at the ancient churches of Lalibela while I had to stand outside because I was the wrong gender?

Is it Neil Armstrong making history by stepping out of the doorway of the spacecraft and onto the surface of the moon?

Every man has a hundred stories. Every doorway has a hundred more. Every person impacted by the action has another hundred through which they interpret the walking, the doorway, and the man.

We forget that sometimes. We want a person’s actions to mean exactly what we interpret them to mean. We want the words we read (or write) to mean the same thing whether they’re read by us or a person across the world.

We want everyone to understand the world through OUR stories and we neglect to try to understand how theirs differ from ours. Thinking we are right, we impose our beliefs, our ethnocentricities, our fears, and our boxes on them.

But it doesn’t work that way. Your doorway never looks like my doorway. Your fears never look like my fears. Your stories were shaped by different circumstances.

Today I seek the grace to not judge or belittle other people through the lenses of my own stories, and to embrace the beauty of a tapestry of stories threaded throughout the world.

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