Open Doors

A phrase that keeps recurring when I’m talking about toastlovecoffee to anyone who is interested, is ‘doors keep opening!’ I am referring to the power of network; that even though I may not have an answer, or know exactly what to do next, a door opens; someone I know suggests someone else to talk to, and the project moves forward again.

I have been wanting to write this post for a while, because every time I find myself saying this phrase, I know that for some, it is a very different reality. For my friend in Harehills living in (substandard) temporary accommodation supplied by the Home Office while her claim is being processed, just having her own door to shut away the rest of the world, and feel safe is a moment of gratitude. For too many people, doors opening signals something  uncontrollable and deeply frightening.

At the seminar I went to at the end of January which celebrated and explored what it means to be a City of Sanctuary, a group of brave women shared their poetry reflecting on their stories that brought them to seek sanctuary in Britain. The anthology is called Are You Happy With That? and is available through Amazon here.  I share here just one of the seven Door Poems by Hannah Sabatia. From Kenya, she is a qualified nutritionist, a single parent and seeking asylum in Swansea:

The Door Poems

(i)               and there he was

A door opens

and there he was


Standing about ten yards away

he called her to come out

she did not dare


The child saw him

afraid too

He went away

they locked the door

never saw him again


Each door poem describes very powerfully a moment on the journey of a vicitim of terrible abuse and violence to claiming asylum. It reminds me, once again, that I cannot take anything for granted, even the turn of phrase describing the momentum that is gathering for toastlovecoffee.

May we open doors to  life, to the future and always to each other.


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