Do you ever wonder why we have this unstoppable urge to open a closed door? We feel a deep-seated desire to know what is behind that door. We seem to be willing to take great risk to be able to turn that knob and walk inside. It feels like a great mystery that we must resolve to be at peace.
One of my uncles had been a marine and fought on Guadalcanal and Okinawa, serving until the war ended. In his house, there was a door that was always locked and only he had the key to it. He would go in there for hours at a time and you could hear him talking, laughing and sometimes crying.
One day when he went to the store he decided to walk and left his keys on a small table by the door. It was too much, more than I could resist, I had to go inside. I grabbed the keys and could barely get the door open, with hands that were shaking beyond control I opened the door and walked in. It was a dark room musty and deathly quiet. He had an army folding cot by the wall with a camp chair near a metal sea trunk. I slowly opened the trunk and inside neatly folded was an officer’s dress uniform, field jacket and several medals in glass-topped wooden boxes.
This was something I didn’t know about and he had never said a word about it. He had talked about living in Tokyo and loving the culture there but never mentioned the dark and frightening part of his tour of duty. I was speechless, truly without words to express how I felt.
I had unceremoniously walked into a place where I didn’t belong and could never understand. I felt fear and shame yet pride in my uncle and as I turned to leave the door opened and he was standing there pale and trembling, not speaking at all. The moment stretched on and he finally came and sat by my side and told me of his journey. He only asked that I never share his story and I never did.
Point Of View
Some doors are closed for a reason and perhaps we should respect that, but I felt that day that he unburdened himself and while closing one door he opened another. He gave me his field coat and his lieutenant bars, and I wore that coat until it literally fell apart. I was always more respectful after that, trying to be mindful of closed doors; yet, knowing that sometimes by opening the door you help close it.