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Godric Learns of Heaven's Door

“This life of ours is like a street that passes many doors,” Ball said, “nor think you all the doors I mean are wood. Every day’s a door and every night. When a man throws wide his arms to you in friendship, it’s a door he opens same as when a woman opens hers in wantonness. The street forks out, and there’s two doors to choose between. The meadow that tempts you rest your bones and dream a while. The rackribbed child that begs for scraps the dogs have left. The sea that calls a man to travel far. They all are doors, some God’s and some the Fiend’s. So choose with care which ones you take, my son, and one day, who can say, you’ll reach the holy door itself.”

“Which one is that, Father?” I asked for courtesy, for I was hot to leave. I was on my knees before him and with his one straight eye he held me there.

“Heaven’s door,” Godric, he said.

“And will I know if I reach that far?”

“Perhaps you won’t,” Ball said. “Perhaps you will. But go now, Godric. The peace of God go with you too. Tom Ball will keep you in his prayers.”

So if my father’s is the door from which my way went forth, please God the door it leads me to may be the one Saint Peter keeps. And blessed be he who knows it when he comes to it, for not all do, I think.

— Frederick Buechner, Godric: A Novel (Harper Collins, 1983), pp. 24-25.

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