But My Door Won’t Open

We’ve all heard the saying “when God closes one door He opens another.”

I believe it.

However, it has to be the right door. Not just any random door that comes your way.

We’ve all had it happen. A door closes, either suddenly or over time. We try to re-open it. We pull and pull on that doorknob to no avail. Then we think maybe we need to push instead. 

So we push and push. We bang our hands and even our shoulders against it, knowing that if we try long and hard enough, it’s going to open.

We get discouraged and stop trying and begin to walk away. Then someone else comes up to that same door and easily pushes it open. They walk through it and before you can get there to follow them in, it closes again!

Why? Why didn’t it open for you, and why did it open for them?

Did you ever stop to think that maybe it wasn’t your door?

Sometimes we think we know exactly what our next steps in life are supposed to be. We’re sure of it. Do sure that we work to make it happen. We work so hard sometimes that we lose sight of the fact that maybe we’re working TOO hard to make something happen.

And working too hard probably means it’s not supposed to be happening that way.

We’re all impatient at times, some of us more than others. We see other people getting the things we so desperately want, and wonder when it’ll be our turn? 

Their doors opened. Why didn’t ours?

Very simple. It’s not our turn yet. Our door hasn’t appeared because what’s behind it isn’t ready yet. It’s not time, as much as we want it to be.

Timing is everything as we’ve heard so often. It’s just not always our timing.

That door will be ready for you to open and it’ll be easy to open. No key needed. And when you step through it, you’ll know it’s yours, and you’ll know the wait was worth it!

If You Put Off Making A Decision

It’ll be made for you. 

And it might not be the one you would have made for yourself, except you hesitated. Didn’t want to deal with it.

But if you put off making a decision you really need to make, because you’re afraid to make the wrong decision, you’ll be stuck with a result that you’ll have to live with for a long time.

It may be a decision you’d have made much differently, but were hesitant to decide one way or another. 

So now you’re stuck with the consequences.

Consequences you caused because you wouldn’t make a decision. Isn’t it better to live with the consequences of a decision you made, instead of one you refused to have a say in?

What Chapter Are You In?

I read this several months ago, and it really touched my heart:

“Life is like a book with many different chapters. Some tell of tragedy, others of triumph. Some chapters are dull and ordinary, other intense and exciting. The key to being a success in life is to never stop on a difficult page, to never quit on a tough chapter.”

~Unknown

As an author who published her first book of over 20 chapters several years ago, I started thinking about those chapters. Some encompassed a brief few hours of time; some spanned over several years. But each represented an important and vital part of the story. Most were extremely difficult to write, but vitally important to the entire story.

Every book has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each book starts out with a premise, an idea, or perhaps a dream. Each book ends with either the fulfillment of the dream, the culmination of an idea, or the result of believing in the premise of your life goal.

But does our life ever turn out like we think it will? Do our plans and goals ever turn out like we want them to; like we planned them to? Or does something happen along the way to change them, re-route them, or perhaps totally derail them and force us to start over again with a blank page?

It happens all the time. You’re going along in an easy chapter, with everything going for you, everything going right. And then, bam! A job ends. A marriage ends. There’s an unexpected serious illness. A death in the family.

And a new and most likely difficult chapter begins. One that’s not easy to write, because there are so many unexpected turns and twists.

There’s one big difference between real life and a book. Real life doesn’t always have a happily ever after. We want it to be so. And we work hard to make it happen.

But we also have to remember that if we followed the characters in that book into real life, that happily ever after has just as many ups and downs as in our real life. Because a book has a set ending. It’s not real life. Our lives end when the Lord says our time is up, and the final chapter is written.

So what chapter are you in? And how do you want to try to write the ones you have left?

Think About Taking That Chance

Because most likely it won’t come around again. At least not in the same form.

Some things only happen once. If you don’t reach out and grab it, most likely it’s gone forever.

And you’ll be left always asking yourself…”what if…?”

And that’s a question none of us can really truly answer. Because we can’t know what we have no way of knowing.

Waiting

It’s probably one of the hardest things many of us can do.

And I’m not talking about waiting for your order to be delivered at your favorite restaurant. Or for a movie to begin that you’ve been wanting to see for weeks.

I’m talking about anticipating something happening. Maybe we know when and maybe we don’t. Either way it’s not easy for a lot of us.

We wait to hear back from a job interview that we really want. They say they’ll let you know soon. But soon seems to take forever and that whole time you’re wondering what the answer will be.

You’re waiting to hear back on an offer you’ve put in on a home. You really, really want that house, and it seems to be taking forever to hear back from your realtor to find out if that offer has been accepted.

Maybe you’re waiting for a marriage proposal from that special person you’ve been seeing. You want it to happen NOW, and perhaps you’re worrying if it’ll happen at all. Or you’re waiting for the person you just met the other night to call you like he/she said they would. And it seems to take forever.

Or you’re waiting for a doctor appointment that you’re dreading. Maybe because you’re having problems and symptoms that you know could end up in a bad diagnosis. Or you’re possibly facing surgery that you need but are really scared to have, even though everyone says it’s nothing, a piece of cake!

Maybe a loved one is very sick, and you’re extremely worried that every phone call, every text message, may bring bad news. News that you’re expecting but not wanting to hear.

Or you’re waiting to find out the results of a pregnancy test; worried about what the results will be. If you don’t want to be pregnant that’s a lot of worries. If you’re trying desperately to get pregnant with no success so far, that’s even harder.

Maybe you’re waiting for a call from a friend who promised they’d call or text you so you can get together and catch up. You keep waiting, and waiting…bur there’s no call…

Or you’re waiting for your spouse or child to come ho,me and it’s late; past the time they’re supposed to be there. You wait and worry about what’s wrong and it’s even worse because they’re not answering their phone.

Waiting isn’t easy. You worry. You wonder. Your mind goes crazy imagining all sorts of things…good and bad. You’re anxious. You can’t sleep.

Yes, I’ve been there. I’ve been there myself and I’ve been there with family and close friends. It doesn’t get easier. It’s hard. People say to have patience. Well, that’s not always easy to do in certain circumstances. 

I remember a few months ago after I’d had my annual mammogram and the imaging center called and said I had to have it redone because the tech saw some tissue that didn’t look right. I got the next available appointment which was 5 days later. Five days to worry; deep inside I knew it was ok, but it didn’t stop me from worrying and counting the hours until the appointment. And yes, it was ok. But still, the waiting was awful.

Children have a hard time waiting for Christmas to come, or for their birthdays. But as adults, the things we find ourselves waiting for are far more serious than those we wait for as children. But in a child’s mind those things are just as major as the ones we wait for as adults.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Waiting is never easy. It’s stressful, and it’s not fun. But we all do it. We have no choice. There’s nothing instantaneous in this lifetime.

But most times, what we wait for turns out to be worth the wait. Many times it doesn’t seem like it, because what we wait for may not happen the way we want it to. However, most of the time the end result of that wait turns out to be positive. Although we may not know it at that time, and it may not be what we expected.

And yes, sometimes the answer isn’t good. But we have to deal with it and handle it the best we can. That’s not easy either, but that discussion is for another time.

Are you waiting for something? Impatiently or patiently? Impatience won’t make it happen any quicker, you know.

We all go through it. We’ve all been there. But what you’re waiting for will most likely be worth it when it happens. Even if it’s not quite the way you expected.

Life Doesn’t Come with a Remote

You have to get up and change it yourself.

You want to change the direction your life is going? Wishing won’t make it happen.

Waiting for something to happen won’t make a change. Because it’s all up to you.

It’s your life. You’re the only one who can make a change.

There’s no remote control for this one. You just have to get up and do it yourself.

Life Doesn’t Stand Still

It’s constantly changing. 

So why are you trying so hard to stop it?

You don’t like change? Well, neither do I.  But it’s a part of life. And it’s what makes it interesting.

Life isn’t static. Would you really want it to be? Sure, there are moments we want to keep, want to last forever, but that isn’t how it works. 

Maybe you really want your life to stay exactly like it is. The same thing day after day. Never moving ahead. No surprises. 

But no excitement. No adventure. Nothing to look forward to. Nothing new happening. I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds really boring,

Is that really what you’re looking for? Staying with the status quo? Day after day after day…?

As much as I don’t like change, I don’t want static and mundane. I want to be challenged. I want to move forward.

Yes, there are risks, but that’s all part of life. If you don’t take a risk once in a while, you’ll never know what could have been.

Change is a part of life. You wouldn’t want your children to stay the same age forever, any more than you’d want to stay the same age forever. Sure, getting older does have its downsides, but that’s part of life as well. Those of us in certain age groups joke about being 39 and holding, but you can’t hold on that age forever! Except in your mind.

When They’re Ready…But We’re Not

There comes a time in many of our family members’ lives when enough is enough. There’ve been too many times of unrelenting pain; too many trips to the hospital; too many times that the doctors say, “someone needs to make some major decisions.”

Too many times our loved ones are put through painful and embarrassing procedures to keep them here with us for a while longer. When all they really want to do is rest. Forever.

Because they’re tired. They don’t want to live like they’re living any more. They want to eat and drink normally without fear of choking or vomiting. They want to be able to walk on their own. To have a normal conversation without gasping for air or coughing uncontrollably. They want to be able to breathe without having a machine doing it for them, They don’t want to be in constant pain which can only be dulled, never really going away.

They just don’t want to be here anymore. And who can really blame them? Would we want to live like that?

Before you start saying that what I’m writing is wrong, cruel, or even anti-Christian, try to put yourself in their situation. Because one day you may be there.

We are never ready to say goodbye to our loved ones, especially our parents. Those of us who are fortunate enough to be blessed with one or both parents who live long lives expect them to be around forever. We want them to be, because the pain of losing them is too hard to bear. We don’t know how we’ll make it without them.

That’s being selfish. Because we’re only thinking of how we’ll react, how we’ll feel. We don’t stop to think about their wishes.

They want to “go home”. And not to the home they’ve been living in for so many years. They want to go to their eternal home, and be free again, pain free, with a new body that works properly. They want to join their loved ones who are waiting for them, and they want to be with their Lord.

My mother went through that. She told me that, in no uncertain terms. But did I want to hear it? Absolutely not. Did I know she was serious? Absolutely.

Did that make it easier? Of course not.

Fortunately I was never faced with those difficult end of life decisions that some of my friends are now facing with their loved ones. Because my mother passed into eternity before those decisions were needed.

And I’m sure that’s the way she wanted it.

Like many of us, my mother had a living will, an advanced medical directive. She had named me her medical power of attorney years before she’d ever been sick. And if you or your loved ones don’t have such directives, I strongly urge you to get them.

Because you never know when you may need them.

Although we’re all living longer, and many of us enjoying fairly decent health into those later years, our bodies do not live forever. They were not designed to live forever. Eventually they wear out and just can’t be repaired any more.

We pray for healing, not realizing that many times in these situations healing takes on different meanings, and our loved ones go on to eternal health.

But before this happens, quite often end of life decisions must be made. And it’s not easy, no matter how strong our faith, no matter how much we know in our head that such decisions must be made. Our emotions, our hearts, don’t want to go there.

Sometimes it’s not or parents, but our spouse. That’s just as hard, and sometimes harder, because we really don’t expect our spouse to pass asway before we do. We need him or her with us. For better or worse. But that vow also added til we are parted by death. We tend to forget that part.

However, we have to accept the decisions our loved ones make. Whether we agree or not. And that is part of honoring our parents, our elderly relatives. Or a spouse with an incurable disease.

Palliative care and hospice care are two options most of us don’t want to hear about, nor consider. But it is a reality, and one that more and more people are having to face for either their loved ones, or themselves. It’s not a decision made easily, or in haste. But it sometimes must be made.

It’s not easy. It’s also not easy watching someone you love dearly suffer. And I daresay none of us would want to be the one who’s suffering so badly.

No matter how much we love them; how much we don’t want to let them go, there’s a point that our love has to love them enough to let them go. To let them be at peace.

Those of us who have faith know in our hearts we’ll see them again. But it doesn’t make it easier.

To all of you going through it, or who have gone through it, be assured you did the right thing. No matter how difficult it was.

Be comforted in that realization.

A Relationship

Takes two people who genuinely care about each other. 

Is only successful when each party makes time for the other

Means taking time for your significant other. Listening to them. Doing things together. Not making excuses.

Shouldn’t be difficult to maintain. And should never be taken for granted.

Shouldn’t always be a case of “we’re working things out.”

Doesn’t mean hanging on because there’s nothing else right now.

Comes naturally between two people. You either want to be together or you don’t.

Takes two people who care about each other. When one stops caring and taking time for the other person there’s no more relationship.

Cannot be forced.

Often ends. And it’s usually for the best. Because it wasn’t the right one.

Each of Us Lives a Storied Life

What story are you living?

A love story?

A tragedy?

A mystery?

A hero/heroine story…helping others, fixing things, coming to someone’s rescue?

Fulfilling your lifelong ambition to do something special?

Is there a love interest, or a potential one?

Or something else altogether?

There are as many different types of stories as there are genres of books, and I didn’t even list all the genres I’ve been known to read. Many of those genres also incorporate bits of other genres, just to make it interesting.

What happens when your personal story gets boring? When you decide you need a new plot line. Is it a story that can easily change, or will it take a lot of time and effort? And are you ready…and willing…to do it?

Think about this. Every day we can choose a new plot line in our personal story. Is it one you’re going to follow up on, or will you erase it the next day and start over?

Who is narrating your story? Is it you, or are you looking at it through someone else’s eyes?

Are you making it truthful or embellishing it? Telling others things that aren’t really exactly the way they really are.

Chances are, your story is actually a series, rather than just one volume, one particular story line. How many books do you think it would fill?

And even more importantly, what part of your life would you start your story in? Would you write the ending differently than your actual life?

I know exactly what story I’d write about my life because I’ve thought about it often. I’ve even plotted out parts of, but haven’t quite figured out the ending yet, because it won’t be what really took place. It’s something I’ve thought about for many years, and maybe it’s time to try my hand at writing it. And no, I’m not giving any hints.

What about you? What’s your particular story? Would you like to change that story? You can, you know. 

It’s your story. And your choice.

You Can’t Change the Past

But you can make sure it doesn’t happen again. 

The memories will always be there, though. Memories of what was, what will never be again. Memories of happier times, or memories of what you wish had never happened.

Those memories are part of us, and they make us who we are. Who we’ve become. 

Sometimes they’ve made us better. Sometimes they’ve put us in a dark place that it seems we can’t escape from.

Sometimes we take those memories and change them around in our minds so that we’ll have a happier ending. It’s our way of escaping the past, and in many cases, trying to make certain memories less painful by giving them a better ending.

But the reality eventually seeps back in and the real memories are still there. And you realize memories are a truth we can’t change.

Hindsight isn’t just a matter of timing; it’s a matter of wisdom that’s gained with experience. You can stay stuck in the place you are in, reliving every moment of hurt and pain over and over until it consumes you, or you can choose to pull yourself out of that place and start living your life again. 

No, it won’t be the same. You’re not the same. People around you have continued to move on with their lives, while you’re still stuck in the past and afraid or unwilling to join them.

Who you were is not necessarily who you are now. And do you really want to continue living in the past forever?

Because it’s really not a fun place to be. 

Let the past be the past. It’s time for you to live in the here and now and look ahead to your future.

What are you waiting for? 

We All Have a Past

Yes, we do. All of us. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of. But most of us move on from them, learn from them, and don’t repeat them.

We don’t talk about those things, and we certainly hope no one else does either. Many times very few people even know about them. They may have happened at a time in our life many years ago, and either no one ever knew about them, or the people that did know, and may have been affected by them, aren’t in our lives any more. 

It may be something others did to us, something we’ve had a really tough time putting behind us. We may have kept it secret, or have shared it with friends. But it still happened.

Or it may be something we did, bad decisions we made, things we’re really embarrassed over that we hope no one ever finds out about.

Most of us go on with our lives, build careers, raise families, and are happy with who we are. We have friends who love us and respect us. We put our past behind us and don’t repeat the mistakes, and don’t keep pulling it out and reminding ourselves about those awful things we did at another time. We’ve forgiven ourselves, and we’ve been forgiven.

But there are many others who cannot do that. They continue to dwell on past mistakes, past errors, past indiscretions. They cannot forget the things they did wrong, usually many years ago. They blame these past mistakes on perceived failures in their current lives, and feel like they’re getting what they deserve. They have no self-confidence because they’re too busy telling themselves how bad, how undeserving they are.

Or they continue to look back on the things that happened to them, the wrongs that were done to them, the people who treated them wrong, and instead of placing the blame on the ones who hurt them, find a way to blame themselves for others treating them that way.

Really? Why? Not everything bad that happens in your life is your fault!

Misplaced guilt is a prison you put yourself in. There’s no parole; it’s a life sentence. There are visiting hours, but the visitors go home, back to their own lives while you continue living in the prison of despair you’ve created for yourself.

The only way out is escape! And escape isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

It requires planning. It requires help from those who aren’t in that prison. And it requires confidence.

Because if you don’t have the confidence to think you can escape, chances are no matter how hard you think you’re trying, you won’t succeed. Because you just won’t let yourself break loose from the chain that keeps you tethered to your past.

It’s sort of a misplaced safety net. You know the past all too well, but the future is an unknown. And you’re not sure you can deal with it.

But if you don’t move on, move forward, the past will start to repeat itself, and then where will you be except back in the same place you were years ago. And that’s not what you want.

Keep in mind that you’re probably the only one who really cares about what mistakes you made in the past.

And you don’t have to tell everyone you meet your entire life story. At least not right away. And unless it’s something so bad they can find out about it in a police report, what does it matter?

You weren’t the same person then as you are now. They probably have things in their past they don’t want anyone to know either.

We all have a past. We’ve learned from it. It’s time to let it go and move on with your life.