Do you remember that day, back in March 2020, when the whole of the UK gathered around their TV sets to listen to Prime Minister Boris Johnson say those fateful words, ‘go home and stay home’? AND WE ALL DID…
That still chills me to the bone, to be honest. People said there would be revolts and nobody would do it, yet we did. I remember walking my Maggie, right up the central white line of the main road, just because there were literally zero cars on it.
And the same is happening here in Hotel Quarantine. When we each arrived, we were told ‘stand on that red spot’, ‘leave your luggage there’, ‘do this’, ‘do that’ and then we were each delivered to our room and told to stay there for 14 days – only opening the door to receive a meal or a visit from the nurse. AND WE ARE ALL DOING IT.
Today is day 13, the day I got my release papers so I can leave here in the morning. I was handed my letter from NSW Police and from a medical professional, to prove I have ‘fulfilled the requirements’ of the stay. I got a band secured around my wrist with huge letters on it, saying WEDNESDAY and then the official asked me what time I want to leave (incidentally, that’s the first and only choice I’ve been able to make in a fortnight. It felt good). I opted for 7am and he said this remarkable thing: ‘just open the door and leave at 7am and walk out of the building’.
Just walk out. The door is open? I just get to leave?!
Basically, I could have walked out at any point. I could have; nothing was physically restraining me or preventing me from doing so but I didn’t, of course. I didn’t because I was here to get quarantine done and because, the rules of quarantine state that you stay put and you do not leave, for anything (not even a fire alarm. That’s what the ‘welcome’ letter said. Awful welcome that…!). And tomorrow I get to see that the door was open all the time – I can just pull it and let it shut behind me and walk out, all my personal agency restored to me (well, kind of), and go.
And while I’ve been reflecting in here, and thinking about our beloved friends at the Kitchen, I’ve been considering how this ‘open door’ thing is true in so many other ways. How often have I not ‘pushed the door’ due to fear, or anxiety, or worrying what people will think? How often have I thought I was trapped in a place or situation because I didn’t know that the door was open all along? How often do we succumb to addictions or ways of living because we don’t dare to see if the door is open? And, heartbreakingly, how often have we just stayed put, in some miry murky place, simply because nobody told us we could just open the door and go? How often?
Tomorrow morning, bang on 7am, I will open this hotel room door and walk right out of here. And as I go, I will make a conscious effort to pray for those who are still stuck in whatever their room is, that they may see that the door is open all along. Didn’t Jesus say something about being the gate? And being the Way? Maybe the door isn’t just open, maybe it is the Christ…
Thank you for keeping me company here in quarantine. You’ve been my own personal therapists, each one of you. I will continue to journal my Holy Adventures right here, but I can’t promise it will be every day – now it’s time to get up to some of this Holy Chaos so I have something more to right about.
But first, let’s get these doors open!
Lots of love 💚