Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

The wrong side of the door

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published May 29, 2014

We once had a cat that was always on the wrong side of every door. If we let her out into the yard, she promptly turned around and began meowing to be let back into the house. Once inside the house, she started sitting by the door waiting to get out.

May292014_MurrayI can definitely relate. When I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait to grow up, but once I passed 30, I wanted to be young again. For a long time I thought that if I ever had a book published, that would be the ultimate experience. After eight books, though, I can’t say I am that much happier, and still I stand by the next door trying to get out.

When I was working in a high-stress office, I was sure that leaving the job would do the trick. Now that I work at home, it is a definite joy not living by the ruthless demands of an alarm clock, but there are still times when I find myself pondering whether or not I’ve found true happiness.

As a single lady, I was quite sure that if I found Mr. Right, all the loose edges of my life would be neatly sewn up. Once I married the man of my dreams, I have to say my joy level quadrupled. But one day I discovered that marriage was certainly not the panacea for all life’s ills. I still struggled with melancholy days, worried about the future—and wondered if I was truly on the right side of the door.

We have a lovely home set in a heavily wooded neighborhood. We have fig trees, roses, irises and blueberry bushes. Grapevines that produce enough fruit for my husband to make many gallons of fine wine each year. A little deck tucked away in a thicket of greenery that is reminiscent of a miniature forest.

Don’t get me wrong, please. I know how precious these blessings are. I would never take them for granted.

But at times my husband and I wonder if we should move to Florida, since we have cousins there, and they have children, so we would be in the midst of a big, buzzing, bountiful family. And don’t forget access to the Gulf of Mexico, that vast, shimmering stretch of water that harbors mullet, mangrove snapper, blue crabs and many other delicious creatures of every size and stripe.

There, we could have a boat and go fishing, and savor the sight of the sleek, shimmering back of the lazy sea. There, surely we would be happier. Wouldn’t we?

In my more realistic moments I tiptoe toward the truth. Which is that for years I’ve been missing the whole point, really.

The point that finally hit me squarely on top of the head in the dead of night when I awakened and heard the shuddering hands of the grandfather clock striking three, and a faraway owl calling in a lonely way as if he too were searching for something mysterious.

And then I got it. I realized I am not alone. It is the human condition to have a heart that pines endlessly for something no human being can give. It is part of our nature to long for what is on the other side of the door. And to know it can only be God.




Lorraine’s third mystery, “Death Dons a Mask,” brings back Francesca Bibbo, Tubs the cat and Ignatius the hamster. Artwork for this column is by Jef Murray. Readers may contact the Murrays at