The most tremendous thing in the world is for men
to find that door; the door to God.
The most important thing any man can do
is take hold of one of these blind, groping hands
and put it on the latch,
the latch that only clicks and opens to the man's own touch.
Men die outside that door as starving beggars die.
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter,
dying for want of what is within their grasp,
they live on the other side of it;
live there because they have not found it.
Nothing else matters
compared to helping them find it and open it
and walk in and find Him.
So I stand by the door.
Go in, great saints, go all the way in.
Go way down into the cavernous cellars
and up into the spacious attics.
It is a vast and roomy house,
this house where God is.
Go in to the deepest of hidden casements
of withdrawal and silence and sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms
and know the depths and heights of God,
and call outside to the rest of us
how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look inside.
Sometimes I wander in a little farther;
but my place seems closer to the opening of the door.
So I stand by the door.
There's another reason why I stand there.
Some people get part way in and become afraid
lest God and the zeal of His House devour them.
For God is very great and asks all of us.
And these people feel cosmic claustrophobia
and want to get out.
"Let me out!" they cry,
and the people way inside only terrify them further.
Somebody must be by the door to tell them
they are spoiled for the old life
they have seen too much of.
Once taste God and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must watch for the frightened
who seek to sneak out just where they came in;
to tell them how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near
these are to leaving,
preoccupied with the wonder of it all.
Somebody must watch for those
who have entered the door
but would like to run away in fear.
So, for them too, I stand by the door.
I admire the people who go way in
but I wish they would not forget
how it was before they got in.
Then they would be able to help the people
who have not even found the door
or the people who are frightened enough
to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply
and stay in too long
the people still outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place;
near enough to God to hear Him
and know He's there,
but not so far from men as not to hear them
and remember many are still out there.
Outside the door.
Thousands of them. Millions of them.
But, more important for me...
one of them.
Two of them.
Ten of them,
whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
I shall stand by that door and wait
for those who seek it.
I'd rather be a door keeper,
so I stand by the door.
(by Rev. Sam Shoemaker)
Early friend and confidant of Bill W. and deep friend of Alcoholics Anonymous, from the rare old book 'AA's Manifest Destiny'