“The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door”
Have you seen the movie Sliding Doors? I have to admit that I don’t really remember the plot very well, other than in tandem story lines, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character misses her train by seconds as the doors slide shut in one, and in the other she makes it and goes on with her day as planned. Her choices, as a result of missing the train and going through a different door, alter the course of her life almost beyond recognition. In the movie, at least as I remember it, she doesn’t consciously choose to miss the train. But she does miss it and goes through a different door than she normally would have chosen, and we see the chain reaction of events that emerge as a result. It can be a scary thing, a door. An unwanted thing. A joyous thing. A choice to make, or one that’s made for you. Whatever comes with the door’s appearance, it can be life changing.
What if passing through whatever door is right in front of us, or choosing a different one that isn’t quite as clearly marked, is essential for our wellbeing and wholeness? We all have doors in our lives. Some look inviting, and we can’t wait to find out what’s on the other side. Some are just standing there open, ready to welcome us whenever we chose to walk through. Some seem locked, some are swinging back and forth systematically, some are creaking on their hinges. Some won’t let us through, even though the path beyond looks perfect. Some slam shut on our hands with no warning.
Most of the time (i.e. all of the time) we simply can’t know the outcome of our choices. Even if the plan is completely straight forward, and the path seems crystal clear, life has a way of muddying the waters. We miss the train. Loved ones get sick. Our interests change. We learn something new that rocks our worldview. There’s an earthquake, a fire, or a hurricane. We have to start over. We want to start over. We realize we have to find a way to accept the present, or to be in our anger without letting it burn us up, or to use a hard discovery to craft a door from ashes. We realize we have to find a way to use what we have to heal, or to create needed change.
There is plenty of conflict all around us. The weight of a weary world sometimes feels too heavy to carry. Doors open and close without our consent. Yet despite this, what if we could muster up the courage to cross every threshold that presents itself as a worthy option? The crossing may not be graceful and it may take longer than we think it should. It may be painful, and lead to more hard things before the healing is noticable.
So what do we do about this? There are no easy answers, of course, no three step program “crossing a threshold you don’t want to cross”. But we can be kind to ourselves when the fear of uncertainty fills the doorway with shadows and let gentleness lead for awhile. We can reach out for help. We can help another who feels stuck between worlds. We can take a deep breath and look up at the sky. We can stop blaming the door for breaking promises it didn’t make.
After all, it’s only a door.