“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell”
Our lives are rife with doors closing and opening. Some doors slowly and softly close as we exit them, validation that the time has come for a new chapter in our lives. Transition time. This could represent a relationship that has come to a gentle end, as when a colleague leaves our workplace, or our interest in a hobby draws to a close. It’s as if some invisible power has confirmed that the time is now to move on, and that you’re ready to do so. In such cases, the new opportunity, the wait for another door to open, the time in the hallway, is often easy to negotiate. At times, the next door may be anticipated, as our interests shifted, fully aware of our new goals and interests. “OK, my interest in the health club has waned, I’ll take up jogging outdoors now.” These are the easiest and most desirable transitions, as they originate in our minds and are desirous. The hallway from one door to the other is easy to negotiate, and relatively short in length.
“Look on every exit as being an entrance to somewhere else.” Tom Stoddard
Some doors close somewhat more forcefully, not waiting until we have fully exited. Like when a quickly moving revolving door spits you forward and out. This could represent those times when a desirable life circumstance, which we prefer continue, draws to a close. It’s not a game-ender, but we don’t quite feel ready. “Hey, why did that have to end?” You know, like when our cell phone, which was top-of-the-line six months ago, now becomes outdated, and becomes a lap down in the mobile phone competition. Or when the perfect concert draws to a close and you’re wanting four more encores, but alas, not to be. Or the perfect vacation comes to a conclusion. Back to work! With these occurrences the next door, the next opportunity is typically within sight. And even when not, its eventuality is apparent. You know it’s coming. Just be patient. The hallway between these doors is slightly longer, but tolerable, easily negotiable on our own.
“In the space between chaos and shape, there was another chance.” Jeannette Winterson
Some doors slam shut with a force that “knocks the wind out of us.” This transition could represent a sudden end to a long, treasured relationship, with a person, a community, a job, even a state of mind. No notice, no warning. It’s over. Things are different now. The death of a loved one, a loved one moving away, a forced move, a significant health challenge, all of which represent a slamming of the door of familiarity, leaving us feeling stranded in the hallway of the unknown. In other instances, the sudden realization that what we’ve been doing, what we thought was working, isn’t working, can leave us wondering what to do next. Totally lost. What is ours to do when the hallway leading from the door that just slammed shut, is lengthy, with the next door, the one they talk about “opening,” remains out of sight?
Perhaps you’ll give-in to the tendency to tug on the slammed door, hoping to regain, hoping to re-live the familiar. Nope, it’s locked closed alright.
When we find ourselves locked out of the familiar, wondering what our next move should be, feeling lost and lost in wondering, I suggest asking for help. Self help might include prayer, meditation, walking, quiet reflection, taking a few days off. Then there’s calling a friend, a trustworthy one, someone who will listen. Don’t minimize this, feeling heard can be a healing experience. We may need the help of a professional; a coach, a therapist, a support group, a resume writer, a grief counselor, a subject-matter expert. You name it. Ask for guidance.
Other than those times when healthy solitude is required, avoid going it alone. That long hallway, following significant change, can be a lonely, depressing place. Call on those whom you trust. Call them into your life, and seek support.
Two sets of “eyes,” whether they be physical or emotional, are more likely to help you spot the light shining under the next door in the distance, the next opportunity, than just one set. Seek support.