I am one of those people on airplanes that engage in conversation with fellow passengers if they are interested. One conversation stands out with regards to slamming doors. A woman sat next to me and shared her unique way of asking the Universe for guidance when she struggled with knowing what was the best path for her. Her technique was in the form of a simple request, “God, please close the doors that no longer serve me, and open the doors to the path that is for my highest good. One more thing, make it obvious when the door is closed and when another is open.”
This technique spoke to me and I have found myself requesting the very same thing. It has become a mantra during times of confusion. My challenge is that sometimes I don’t recognize when a door is closing. I trust God, the Universe and the process of life to slam a door in my face if I am missing the signals of a closing door.
We all understand that hindsight is 20/20, yet to have compassion with ourselves as the fog lifts is more challenging. Returning to the dating world after being married 18 of the past 22 years has revealed many interesting lessons. On occasion I have been reluctant to recognize the closing of doors that lead to the end of a relationship. I was dating a great guy that we will call George. We had fun together, but there was a substantial gap in our birthdays. I was the older one, and that doesn’t seem to be overly popular in certain circles of the younger parties. One day, a coworker of George’s was coming over to drop off something. George was visibly uncomfortable concerning this upcoming meeting in his home. Apparently earlier in the week George lead his boss to believe that I did not have any children, which I have a 20 year old daughter who is the most important person in my life. He did not want this coworker to learn that I am a mother, because what if the information found its way back to his boss? Then George would be a liar in his boss’s eyes. No one wants that! In his effort to avoid conflict he asked me to go away from the house during the time this coworker was to arrive. Confusion washed over me as I explained that I would not leave the house since I was invited to be there nor would not lie about being a mother. However, I just so happened to be in the shower when the coworker arrived. Because I did not meet the coworker, George had the opportunity to clean up his mess without conflict. Looking back, I understand that the door was a closing. I simply was not ready to walk through it just yet.
The door slammed in my face a few weeks later just after my heart fully opened. George invited me to dinner at his parent’s home with brothers, girlfriends, children and grandparents. This invitation was a big deal to me since George had been reluctant to tell his family he was even seeing anyone for many months in our relationship. My daughter was away at school and was not invited. She had not met anyone in his family, so this was nothing alarming. I relished in the family gathering. I felt comfortable in conversation, laughter and participating in the evening meal. As we left, I hugged everyone and told them thank you for such a wonderful time. As I walked to the car, a sense of relief found me. I felt like I finally opened my heart to being part of a couple completely again. I remembered that I like being part of a team and a clan and welcomed the joy. You know that moment with the weight lifts from your shoulders and your entire body feels lighter? That was my experience that night.
We settled into the car and George began to drive home. I shared my delight and gratitude for being included in such a wonderful family evening. George just nodded and said, “You’re welcome.” Looking back now, I can see that something was not right with George and he emotionally was miles away all evening. I was so wrapped up in being included with the clan that I neglected to recognize the closing door. On the way home the conversation turned and continued downhill for the rest of the evening.
With much emotional struggle, George recognized that he was no longer comfortable with where my life path was in comparison to his. My relationship resume was no longer compatible for what he desired for himself. I have already had my first wedding, child, home and epic adventure. No matter what, I could never give him those things, for they had already happened and shaped the person I am today. In a matter of hours I found myself emotionally on the opposite side of a closed door alone. I could not pry it open with a crowbar, as it had slammed right in my face. I remember being puzzled and devastated for weeks after as I emotionally stood at the closed door hoping it would open. I wanted to be chosen by George. My heart ached since; I just remembered that I enjoy companionship in the moment it slipped away. What I discovered was that the longer I stood facing the closed door; I was blind to the doors opening further down the hallway. There is nothing left to do except find peace in the hallway of emotions.
A mentor of mine once said, “When one door closes another opens, but the hallway is hell!” That makes me laugh, since I understand that suffering is optional and comfortable at the same time. I trust that a doors are open always. I simply need to love myself as I skip down the hallway! I trust that God, the Universe and the process of life will shove me through the open door if I happen to miss it!