Sorting by

Skip to main content

The traveler stopped at a spot in the road and looked around. No book or map or phone to guide. Just a memory of words once spoken over her: Watch for the gate.

The path had twisted and turned here and there, though it seemed to be the right way. At very least, she saw no other option. How long it had been since she set out, she couldn’t recall. All she knew was that she hadn’t come across a gate yet, and night was starting to fall.

Go back? I’ve come so far. I’m surely almost there.

Did I make a mistake? I saw no other way.

Maybe someone else knows? Oh, wait—I’m all alone. How long have I been alone?

A low wall of rough, time-weathered stone ran alongside the road.

Where did that come from? Or was it there when I started?

The traveler kept walking, but now with eyes on those stones that went with her. And so when the wall curved away from the path, she stopped—unsure where to go.

She looked back at the road, to where she had been and where she was going.

It is at least a real road. It must go somewhere, or people wouldn’t have made it.

But this wall? It serves no discernible purpose. Why is it even here, stretching on and on without interrupt—

Though shadows did their best to hide it, a small section looked to be open, as if someone left off their work—or another broke it down.

This can’t be the gate.

Gates don’t look like this. Gates don’t work like this.

This might just be a hole?

But then the traveler heard a still, but strong, voice.

You expected something bigger? Something that opened and closed? Something that locked? Something guarded?

Well, I . . .

Do you see a gate as an obstacle because this world and, sadly, other people have put heavy doors and tall walls in front of you and you have not felt welcome?

I am not that gate.

Do you see a gate as something you can open and close on your own, something you can control to fit your life and your wishes?

I am not that gate.

Do you see a gate as a means of solitude and security, something you can lock behind you so you can feel safe and unbothered by others?

I am not that gate.

The gate was indeed small, with rough and uneven edges. The traveler had to lower her head and stoop to enter.

Did you expect to find it built to your specifications, to give you easy passage?

It wasn’t, and it won’t.

But if you enter, you will find it fits you.

The gate was thicker than it first looked. Indeed, it was more an entrance to a narrow corridor of stones. It might have felt almost tomb-like, with the descent of night its lid, but the traveler could tell these stones weren’t meant to bury. They were set in this place to direct. And to declare.

Even stones cry out?

And as she went forward, head raised, shoulders unfurled, and feeling somehow taller for having crouched low, the traveler felt a path clearly beneath her—not as wide as the road that brought her to the gate, but straight as an arrow, pointing to lights at the very edge of what she could see. And the lights shone all the brighter because of the darkness.

The reflection of those lights seemed as if they were moving toward her, dancing and calling her forward.

A river! Of course, this place would have a river.

And even though it grew dark, light was also—somehow—transmitted through the warmth of green growing meadows, the song of evening birds, and the smell of bread on hearth fires in the distance.

The distance? Hard to gauge in the twilight. She might not get there until dawn, but then—of course then—the sun would tell her where she was.

I know at least the sun will rise. How have I always known that?

And she would know how she got there.

I came through the gate.

Rebecca Tellinghuisen

Rebecca Tellinghuisen lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she works at Trinitas Classical School. Among her many responsibilities there are teaching Latin to middle schoolers and "resident writer of reader's theater," having developed a love of turning classic children's literature into 20 minute plays.  


Leave a Reply