Have you ever walked the streets in your neighbourhood and wondered what is going on behind those closed doors; with the people living isolated and separated lives behind them? And have you ever considered how much we have separated ourselves from one another and the many horrific things that happen behind these closed doors on a daily basis that no one would know about?
On average, every week, a woman in Australia is killed at the hands of her partner or someone she knows well. Every day there are countless stories of horrific abuse of women and children, and the most despicable crimes you could possibly imagine are perpetrated. We would be ignorant to think that these acts happen at random or just come out of nowhere.
We live our life, we go to work, we get the kids to school, we run our errands, etc., but this is only a portion of what we allow the world to see. It is only our family and perhaps our close friends that really get to see what goes on behind closed doors … and within that space there are more closed doors that very few, if any, would ever be allowed to see.
It’s the way society has been built and it’s what we are used to and accept as our normal. Have you ever been told “What happens in the home, stays in the home?”
Somewhere there is an unwritten rule that tells us to keep quiet about the abuse, the yelling, the screaming, or whatever else goes on. The rule says, no one must know about what goes on in here … and life carries on as if it hasn’t ever happened.
The shadow of shame lingers over so many lives as secrets are buried in hidden troves. How many women are at the mercy of their abusive partner for years before anyone ever knows? How many children are abused day after day as a matter of course before they are found dead? What is really going on in people’s homes that we are not aware of until it is way too late?
And domestic violence is not the only hidden crime against humanity we are likely to find behind those closed doors. We have a multi-billion dollar industry built around pornography that is on tap. We have serious issues with alcohol, yet it still remains a socially acceptable substance even though it continues to fuel so much of the violence and suffering we find in our communities.
The abuse of drugs and mind-altering substances is out of control, completely destroying the lives of the users and their families. And for the most part, this all happens behind closed doors. We tend to hear about the end result, and the devastation that has been caused after the fact. But what we don’t hear about is the life that has been lived, the day-to-day experiences that led to this devastating situation.
And we don’t get to see the suffering or the pain one might be in, the depression and the turmoil that gets taken home to the family after.
In the confines of our own four walls behind closed doors we tend to drop our guard, release our tension, only to take it out on those closest rather that take responsibility for our selves. Whether it be a mother yelling at her children, a husband hitting his wife or sexual abuse – whatever the extent, it all happens within the confines of the home, for no one to see and for no one to hear.
And isn’t it true that even though we don’t see what goes on in our neighbours’ homes, we tend to be able to feel when things are not quite right?
It has to be the ultimate form of irresponsibility, to live one way behind closed doors and then put on a facade to meet the world.
Take porn, for example, we are not free from its hold just because the magazine is closed or the computer is switched off. The energy of porn goes with us to work, when we are with our children and when they walk down the street. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Kids can certainly feel it.
Cyber trolls sit behind their keyboards punching away profanities and all manner of abuse, all behind the cloak of anonymity, tucked away behind their doors to hide their abhorrent behaviour. Yet they venture out to lead what seems to be a ‘normal’ life, that unless exposed, no one would even know about. These may be on the extreme end of the spectrum of behaviours but to some degree, most people have something that doesn’t see the light of day that is kept very close, to themselves and a select few.
What if we were to live without these walls and doors? What would life be like if we allowed ourselves to be transparent, open and honest about our lives? Of course there is always going to be an element of privacy that we are more than entitled to, but the quality of our doors and walls could be somewhat permeable.
I know a family, the Benhayon family, that lives like this. They are enormously generous and very open and warm and when you are with them you can’t help but feel how much they let you in to their world.
They have their privacy but in no way do they shut the world out. They don’t have one persona going on at work and then another at home and another with friends. And they live like this because there is nothing to hide and there are no secrets to bury and they have so much to share. What you see is what you get. This to me is the epitome of integrity.
It is everything we want for the world yet we haven’t been able to crack through our ingrained ways that keep us all very separate and boxed in, literally.
When we are boxed in, things can fester. Moments turn into days, days into a week and weeks into years. Before we know it we are living in situations that are far from supportive and far from loving and far from real. It is the festering that makes things go stale.
No matter how good we make things look on the outside, sooner or later a loveless relationship will be exposed or a loveless body will get sick or a devastating ‘stop’ will be waiting around the corner . . . because living boxed in is not actually natural even though we have made it our normal. When we have another life going on behind closed doors, we are contributing to the festering that is resulting in some very tragic circumstances.
Meanwhile, the Benhayon family is lighting the way forward as living examples of true family and true community. This is what love in action looks like.
By no means are they perfect and they don’t ever strive to be. They are simply real and the love that pours from their home, through their walls and out of their front door, is for all to see and feel.
Anyone who is open has access to this, it is not confined to a few and it is certainly not boxed in because there is no difference between what goes on inside and what can be seen from the outside.
Respecting and honouring one another is easy with this much love … and hiding and burying is near impossible.
And while the world carries on behind their closed doors, there are a growing number of homes that have switched their lights on: you can see through their windows that the light burns bright, having been deeply inspired by the Benhayons to make life about the most real and tangible love that in turn opens them up to the world. No more hiding behind closed doors and no more burying the love that they, and all of us, already are.
By Sara Harris, Health Practitioner, Melbourne, Australia