Trauma Returns IV
Jennifer Angelina Petro
We are all surrounded by invisible doors. Every step we take one opens and we drift through a threshold. Sometimes we pause outside unsure of ourselves, unaware doors are opening all around us. Once we take a step, whether we pivot the foot and turn around, or we move forward confidently—a door’s there—it opens—we’re through. Can’t we stay in a room, or a backyard, or place of worship for a spell, or do we just keep stepping through door after door—doors leading to other doors? That all depends on the needs of the soul. If the soul’s task is to guide a fairly whole heart, and a nearly unscathed spirit to their next living temple, then there will be stops along the way in living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens where banana bread is baking, and coffee is brewing, perhaps a teakettle is whistling, and children are laughing somewhere just outside, perhaps there will be walks through cathedrals and forests, farmlands, mountain passes, and around lakes and ponds. In cases such as these, the doors wait nearby, open just a smidge, letting the light from beyond its frame slant through over your shoes that you’ve placed by the previous door. Should the soul’s task be—as it is for mine–to carry a heart and spirit damaged by trauma, then it is more like door after door, searching for that peaceful place, that safe place, that breathing place, and sometimes it’s never found in this life—it’s just one threshold after another. Despite the soul’s wisdom and depth of wonder, sometimes the hurts she is trying to help heal are too deep, too sharp and festering, that the only doors that appear—appear like blackholes with wooden frames—doors leading into darkness upon darkness—into damp and moldy basements, into jail cells made of bones of ghosts. Sure, every now and again, a door appears, and it sails by like a strange boat, and light surrounds it, like a mandorla, and singing weaves through the key hole, but it’s soon gone down—down into the sea of inability to trust, handicapped abilities to feel joy, enhanced abilities to feel shame and terror. Right now, in this moment, I am standing outside an open dark door—and even if I try and stand still or change directions—as shaky as my knees are—the door opens like a maw and comes to me—moves over and around me, and I have no choice but to be in the dark belly of the door—the belly of I-Hate-This-Life-It-is-Too-Hard-to-Breathe-All-Hope-of-Peace-is-Gone-My-Body-is-Not-Mine-My-Innocence-Was-Stolen-From-Me-Damn-Dammit-to-Hell-Door. And yet still—I am born along as my soul searches, moving, like a winding river of light, towards the house of many mansions, believing the promise is true.