by Fr. Garabed Kochakian
I never realized how important an open door was to my parishioners until someone told me that their relationship with God and the church had been strengthened because the door to my office was always open.
One of my parishioners, Louise, confided in me just prior to my departure from the parish I served for 10 years, saying, “Der Hayr, it was because of your open office door that I found my way back to Christ and his acceptance of me.” I asked her what she meant. She said, “Every time I’ve come to church, I’ve always seen your door open, which was like a sign from God that no matter how great or little my problems were, you would listen to me, and God would always hear my prayers. If your door were closed, Der Hayr, I may have forgotten the need to keep up my relationship with Our Lord, hold fast to my faith and even attend Badarak. To me your open office door was like Jesus’ words, ‘Come to me’. You made God accessible.”
I thanked her and reflected on the profundity of her words. A closed door is very much like a sign that reads, “Keep Out: Do Not Enter.” Sometimes it is easy to run to one’s office in an attempt to escape the madness of the world. However, I never realized that my open office door was a welcoming symbol of the church’s ministry of love and care.