Thursday, 21 October 2010

Doors and Gates.

My friend used to always make the comment that I must be the luckiest person he had ever met in life. “If you fell in the River Clyde you would come out with two salmon in your pockets,” he would say. I never gave it much thought the first few times he said it but after he had said it a number of times I asked him to tell me exactly what he meant by that.

He went on to explain that it always amazed him that somebody who had been asked to leave school at 15 with no qualifications had managed to get where I was in life. Now I never had thought I was anywhere very important in life but he seemed to.

How did a lad with nothing get into the ministry of the Church of Scotland? It was simple really. I went to two of the most influential people in the church at that time, The Very Reverend Lord George McLeod and The Very Reverend Principal Porteous Dean of the faculty of divinity at Edinburgh University and asked them to help me. “You mean you just went up and asked them for help?” That is exactly what I did I knocked on their doors and asked them for guidance and help, and they both did just that.

I once had to write an essay on the theory of existentialism. Not easy for one who has just managed to get himself into university. I wrote a letter to Rudolph Bultmann, who was the leading theologian in this field at the time and asked him some questions. None of my fellow students believed me. He wrote to me often from then until his death.

When I eventually became a minister in a small church that had been given two years to turn itself around I realised I was not going to do that without some serious help. I went to the grounds of one of Scotland’s larger football grounds, which happened to be in my parish, knocked on the door of the chairman and asked for their support and help. They gave it is the form of help with making the building more attractive and the church on a sounder financial footing. This allowed me space to encourage the youth of the parish to get involved and show that there was a thriving living church in the midst of the parish.

That church survived its two years and now some 40 years later is still there making its mark in that part of Scotland.

Now why am I talking about this today, the day after I said not to live in the past? Well when I saw those great big gates that I have promised to show to Jerry I started to think about all the gates and doors I had managed to get through in my life. I began to wonder what lay behind these marvellous gates and doors.

I am not seeking help but you never know who I might meet tomorrow who is and there just might be help behind those gates.

What life has taught me, and I know so many of you have learned the same, s that no door ever opens unless it is knocked on. I have made progress in so many ways in my 66 years because I learned that behind many doors are people waiting to offer help.

I have also made a decision in my life to always have an open door ready to offer help whenever I can.

The truth is that there are a great many undiscovered talented people in the world just needing to be found. There are also a great many people behind doors that just needed to be knocked.

I am sure we all know somebody who, if they had the courage would knock on your door.

This blog is linked to my other.  Gates For Jerry


  1. I'm sure all those people you've helped will always remember you. Just the way you do them. That is a gift, so you have been very blessed.

  2. Actually I have found, doors don't open unless you take the initiative to have them opened. A door never stopped me; actually I found barriers quite the challenge and surmounted all I tackled. Hope I can continue to do so.

    As a secretary in a high school I was privileged to have the trust of many students and was delighted to challenge them to doors they thought locked to them.

    Thanks for the look back and the remembrance!

  3. Good Morning Ralph, what a wonderful positive post to start my day! Thank you for the gate photos and more important, thank you for the key!
    My wife is English (Essex) and forty years ago we
    cut through all the immigration paper-work with a couple letters! The power of the pen is pretty amazing. Sherry is posting again! and maybe hunting for that key and "a bit of luck"!

  4. A great way to start Thursday or any day.

  5. Ralph it sounds like you've accomplished more than you give yourself credit for. Just because you asked for help doesn't reduce your accomplishments. Those same doors were open for anyone else to knock. It was you who did and did something with it!

  6. A powerful post Ralph! It's takes a special person to ask for help and to accept it.