The Loathesome Gate Job


This column was originally published May 21, 2014

I’ve never viewed any job involving a gate as being a coveted one. Stubborn gates always seem to require more muscle, squeezing, and grunting to shut than to open. I do not enjoy being watched while straining to get a tight wire gate open or getting perfectly good, intact clothes ripped, but getting gates is not as troublesome as being one.

Sufficing as a gate means risking getting run over and not appearing intimidating enough to keep cattle from getting past. During church service, I gained a new appreciation for being the gate person, which refers mostly to being the stand-in gate wherein animals are not supposed to pass through unless the human “gate” allows it, but it includes opening and shutting the gate also.

I have read the gospel of John before, but I didn’t remember chapter 10 verse 9:“9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” As the text was read then talked about in the sermon, that verse spoke to me and it said, “Stop grumbling about being the gate person.” I couldn’t help but notice that Jesus and I have something in common—we’ve both been considered a human barricade. If Jesus views being a gate a duty of great value, maybe being the gate gal is not so lowly after all.

Jesus talks about being a gate person, as in THE gate, much like the way I am designated sometimes. Opening, closing, getting, or being the gate, it does not matter—it’s all the same job to me. Granted, I am by no means categorized as the same kind of gate as Jesus the Gate, but I was reassured that as God’s CEO, Jesus regards being The Gate as a prestigious position. It made me feel better to consider that maybe this has something to do with the reason why women are oftentimes chosen to be the gate, especially since there’s usually no one else around.

Husbands don’t realize how much pressure we sometimes feel when they holler nonchalantly with high expectation, “DON’T LET ‘EM GET THROUGH THAT HOLE!” but at the same time expect us not to spook anything away from the desired destination. (A hole is referred here as any size of open space the wife is expected to block with her body between permanent barricades.)

I know what the proper interpretation of the verse that says, “Whoever goes through Him will be saved,” but since Bible scripture can be interpreted differently to everyone and at different times in our lives, I plan to take advantage of that. When I am asked to go to block a hole, I will definitely interpret the text as “saved from being run over” because that’ll be my prayer if necessary.

Although Jesus’ job as The Gate is way more important than mine, it is reassuring that a job I’ve accepted begrudgingly and always worried about not succeeding at is a job Jesus embraces with high regard.

I think I know now why women are naturally picked to be the “gate.” It’s likely because we’re more apt to pray before taking our stance to block a hole: “God, PLEASE don’t let (fill in the quantity and gender of cattle here) get past me when he (husband) brings them in.”

I don’t mind being a gate now that I know someone in a position much higher than myself is also. I just don’t want to be standing there if any animal decides to jump over or blast through me. I’ve seen the damage of some of our metal gates and they usually aren’t worth saving.

© Amy Kirk 2014

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