You know the old saying about when one door closes, another opens? Or when one door closes, a hundred more open? Or when God closes a door he opens a window?
These quotes are a comforting reminder to us, that what looks like the end, is not the end at all, and is in fact, just an unexpected beginning.
But you know us humans (especially us perfectionist or pleaser-type personalities) hate beginnings because it means a lot of vulnerability and not-knowing, and almost all humans totally resist and hate change. At least they think they do. In reality, they actually LOVE change, they just fear it.
For example, my husband regularly says he doesn’t like change, and yet he’s utterly delighted when he gets brand new fishing tackle, or when a movie line he has never heard before makes him burst out laughing, or when we go on a vacation to someplace new and he feels totally alive on a whole other level, or when he discovers new facts on a nature documentary that he didn’t previously know. That’s change. All of these things are change. They are an unknown, a totally fresh new thing in his world, and he is brand new to it. And it’s a joy!
Yes, that kind of change is on a smaller and more palatable scale, but it is change nonetheless. And it perfectly illustrates that we DO love beginnings, and we DO love unknowns, and there are a million examples of this, from babies, to mystery movies to magicians. Change delights us!
It is true that bigger changes are much more scary, and bigger beginnings are far more daunting. Because the unknowns are now affecting your whole freaking LIFE. And so your mind will paint those new beginnings as impossible, and as terrifying, and project the worst possible outcome and feelings onto that change, to get you to just STAY WHERE YOU’RE AT.
Our minds forget that we LOVE change. And that change is actually the very spice of life!
But our fears of change are not for no good reason, of course. We often fear change the most when we have experienced some big and painful changes in our life and history. And oftentimes we get stuck in the pain part of that, and don’t ever receive the GIFT of it.
That was me.
I experienced painful change in my life that I first tried to tell myself was for the best, and was good. But really, deep down, believed was bad and for the worst. Then, many years later, I accepted it felt bad. Very bad. And I let myself move through that pain for real this time.
And now, I am back to KNOWING it was good, instead of just trying to tell myself it was, and not really believing it. And now I am beginning to truly receive the gifts of that change, and that experience.
But for many, many years I was stuck in the “ending” of it all… stuck in front of that closed door, with a closed heart… instead of that open window.
Instead of the open window, or the hundred other open doors that were offered as a new beginning, I stayed parked in front of that closed door. I didn’t want to figure out the new way when I was still so hurt over losing the old way. I didn’t want to find new joy if my old joy couldn’t live.
I half did it, I didn’t totally stay unmoving at that door. But it felt more like “god closed a door and opened an air vent”. Which is still a new opening right? Except you’ve got to struggle real hard to squeeze through every time, and never really fit.
What that felt like was not feeling like I ever really, truly and deeply belonged in the world or in my life, not in a way that others would recognize, but a way that I deeply felt. And not because I didn’t LOVE my life and the people in it… but because of the ways I still couldn’t love myself, and trust myself, and life.
But I am doing that now.
There wasn’t only an air vent. There was an air vent and infinite open doors and windows. But I CHOSE the air vent when I thought it was all that I deserved. I chose the air vent when I was afraid of getting my heart broken, and so I shut it, and myself, up pretty tight. I made damn sure I kept busy with surviving so I wouldn’t have to notice there was a possibility of thriving.
Until one day, I was inexplicably ready. Inexplicably ready to open my heart, right there in front of that closed door.
And you wanna know what?
The door, my heart, the whole world… opened up.
Was it different? Yes. A new beginning? Yes. Mixed in with some of the same old stuff too? Absolutely. Was it worth it? 100%.
So the next time you come upon a closed-door, just try and open your heart. It knows the way. It knows the right door, and it KNOWS HOW TO OPEN IT. Even when you don’t have a clue!
And don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been sitting on the stoop of some closed ones for many, many years.
We’re not ready til we’re ready. But every moment is a fresh chance to start again.