“The Soul should always stand ajar
That if the Heaven inquire
He will not be obliged to wait…” — Emily Dickinson
There has been much conjecture about Dickinson’s relatively minimal social contact, which was unusual for a woman from a prominent family. She has been labeled a “hermit” or a “recluse,” but perhaps she was simply an introspective woman devoted to nontraditional pursuits, and she understood that staying busy with too many tasks would hinder the sort of inner and outer explorations that inspired her writing.
As with most good poetry, there are many ways to interpret the poem from which the lines quoted above have been drawn. Regardless of how her imagery is interpreted, she clearly is urging readers to remain open and ready for whatever gifts Heaven may confer. Perhaps one way she allowed her own soul to “stand ajar” was her habit of favoring quiet contemplation and contact with nature over an active and lively social calendar.
Just as there are many different personalities and temperaments, so there are various ways of remaining open and ready to receive blessings. Whether one is an introvert or extrovert, it’s a pretty safe bet that being too busy, hurried or distracted might get in the way of sensitive receptivity. What are some ways we can allow our souls to “stand ajar” and be ready to hear the music over the noise?
One year ago today: