Friday, March 1, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 9 - The Door

Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting a year long challenge which is... sublime... as you'd expect with such a studio name. The challenge is named 'Focusing on Life' and every week Sally is sending a prompt on what should we focus the following week.

This week's prompt is getting deeper than ever:

A door opened and I went through it. 
 ~Temple Grandin 

 Let's open some doors to see what awaits us on the other side.

I had the perfect door in my mind, but I couldn't get there this past week, so I went to the bookshelf and picked up a beautiful book "Romania: Signs of faith". It talks about faith and religion and old culture... it talks about- and for- the soul.

In there I found my picture (I knew it would be there):

Focus on life: gate of carved wood, Maramures :: All Pretty Things
Gate of carved wood - Maramures; 1996
photo by Dan Ioan Dinescu
Book: Romania, signs of faith - published by NOI Media Print
This is a gate of a house in the north-western area of Romania, a region called Maramures. A place where things still happen as they were hundreds of years ago. The farmers grow their own food, they care for their animals: horses, cows, sheep, pigs, chickens. Every Sunday they dress in their best clothes (some are still sewn and embroided in house, by the women) and they attend the Holly Liturgy in the village's church. They have a cross carved in their gates - the gates and fences are true pieces of art, carved manually by specialized wood workers, a tradition carried from one generation to the next.

If you knock on a door in such a village the head of the house will open it and let you in. They will sit you down and feed you, whatever they have on the table they will fully share with you, even if they never saw you before, even if they will never see you after. To try to pay them for their hospitality is an insult. To love their neighbour and to care for their guest, to give him shelter and host the stranger (the one that comes in peace!) - that is part of their nature.

The hospitality of the people in that region is renowned and it goes back in history (our traditional folk stories all talk about strangers being welcomed with bread and salt and wine). You have to be there, to watch the early morning fog engulfing everything, to witness a sunrise in the hills and mountains, to breathe the dew - and maybe you'll understand the people. People who follow the secular rules of wrong and right, who see everything in the simple light of faith, without judging you, though. They have this incredible link with God, an old link (our faith is almost as old as faith itself: the country has been Christian since ~100 AD): they don't "go to Church", they breathe and live through it. For them (and us) God is truly your neighbour, the one whom you love and greet every morning and every moment, the Heaven truly starts at the village border.

Knock! knock!

Welcome! If you come in peace you'll be received with love and you'll find shelter for as long as you need it.

Thank you for coming into my world today - and please make sure you knock at all the other doors. Sally is a generous host through this wonderful journey!



24 comments:

  1. I didn't know this of Romania. I'm not sure I've knowingly met anyone from there. Although from what you share here in this space I can totally understand the welcoming of your culture. These are doors I imagine are always open, what a beautiful thought that this continues today.

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  2. what a wonderful post - i learnt a lot - thank you :)

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  3. This is a beautiful post - and a little on the sad side, too, as I know of nowhere in my own local, little world where this is how one lives....

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  4. I love learning something new...and this post sure was informative...and a wonderful example of Love in Action...a theme I have been particularly aware of this week...thank you..

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  5. Beautiful photo, too bad you couldn't book a trip for the occasion!

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  6. Thanks for sharing the history - that is awesome!

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  7. Wonderful post and look into the life of rural ROmania!

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  8. What a wonderful post Alicia! To me, this is the true meaning of 'church' it is a community and a place to share with people who live as you do. What a wonderful way to live life

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  9. Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece of history. What a lovely culture. What a love door with such meaning and love behind it!

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  10. I love your description of this special region of Romania. It is wonderful that there are still places on the planet where a stranger is welcomed in the spirit of the Gospels. Usually these places are amongst what we consider the "poor" and where traditional ways continue to be cherished. My mother grew up in a community like that right here in Atlantic Canada in the 1920s. Unfortunately, as these locations become more modernized, less isolated, they gain in material wealth, but sadly they almost always allow their "sharing philosophy" to be lost.

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  11. It is an enlightening piece of information on a culture that is immune to change. Kind of sad how things have 'evolved' in our Western world to the point that we can't keep our doors unlocked...

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  12. What a wonderful post Alicia! I love learning about other cultures.

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  13. A lovely post. How wonderful to know of an entire village where you can find comfort and respite at any door!

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  14. Alicia your post today is wonderful. Thanx for sharing.

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  15. Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. That would be a wonderful culture to live in. Thank you for sharing.

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  17. This sounds like a wonderful place!

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  18. What a wonderful place! I have a friend at work who immigrated from Romania and now I know a bit more about what formed her warm nature.

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  19. Loved this story, Alicia!

    I have a similar story...there is a small village near where I grew up where homes do not have doors. They have frames to hang curtains on for privacy, but no doors! There is never any robbery, the belief is that the god Shani will turn whoever tries to steal into stone, and the belief is so strong, no one attempts it! To this day! The village is called Shani Shinganapur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shani_Shingnapur)

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  20. A beautiful recounting of a truly "God-like" place on this earth. And knowing you, even if only through the world of social media, it surely explains a great deal about your warm and loving heart.

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  21. What a wonderful post! It sounds like a spot everyone should visit. Thank you for sharing.

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  22. Alicia, what a beautiful post! I love this line the most from your post, "they don't "go to Church", they breathe and live through it." Beautifully said! The world would be a much better place if we would breathe and live through it, no matter what our religion maybe, we just need to be open and patient with each other!

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  23. Thank you, all, for your warm and wonderful words. I appreciate them!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate and love to read your comments!