When I don’t get what I want, I can count on a nice church lady to fold her hands and remind me in a whispery voice, “When God closes a door, he always opens a window.” Grrr. I hate that saying. First of all, how am I supposed to walk through a window? I have to get a leg up and climb. And how many stories up is this window anyway? Sounds risky. If you’re going to close the door in my face, opening a window is not an equal substitute. Maybe it’s a sweet proverb, but it does nothing to assuage genuine disappointment. And I’m pretty sure Solomon didn’t come up with that one.
|Photo courtesy of Flickr Commons: Library of Congress Photostream|
Recently the door I was knocking on closed. Or maybe it just never opened. It was as good as open in my mind, and I made the necessary emotional accommodations to leave one career and take on another, one in Public Relations. It was going to be a big step, the kind where you hike up your knickers, plunge in some rapidly-moving, very cold water, and maybe hold your breath for a minute or two. But I was ready for it. Game face on.
To be truthful, I knew the career change was a stretch. But I had a cheering section comprised of my mom, dad, and a few friends. Myers-Briggs was very encouraging; the ENFP profile said I was a perfect fit. But technically I didn’t have any experience, no real qualifications except for all the writing and smiling and talking I do on a regular basis.
But I had gotten bored in my current line of work. I was frustrated that my life was one big problem-solving session:
Okay, what’s your problem?
Oh yes, that’s very difficult.
Okay, here’s how to fix it.
Empathy Schmempathy. I’ve been doing this since junior high. It’s time for a break, I thought to myself in a tiny cabin outside of Manhattan. Please, I need an open door. Something new. I called a friend, and then, an opportunity. In PR. A door, cracked but open, ever so slightly. As part of the application process, I received a writing assignment that felt a little like stringing Ulysses’ bow, but I wasn’t Ulysses. Nevertheless, I put the horse blinders on, slung back some extra espresso, and I pulled that bow until my little hand hurt. Ten hours later, I turned in a decent piece of writing. Now to just make it to the second interview, then they could meet my shiny face and see how charismatic I am, and then they’ll throw all their money on the pixie-haired brunette from the small town.
The dreams were big. The waiting moments were long. I wrestled, hoped, resigned, and wrestled more. I knew I needed change. This had to be it. And then the answer came. The sound of a door clicking shut. I sucked in my gut and took it like a woman, but later on, the cloud of disappointment blew over and rained on my head. I was soaked.
I don’t see a door or a window right now, God. I left my old job emotionally, and now I will still be here. Will still go to work and convince people to feel hopeful and happy when I don’t really feel that way myself.
But pain asks hard questions, and it’s in the agony that we can really answer them. The question: What do I really want to do with my life? I bravely squeaked, “Write.” Well, PR job or none, writing I can still do. I can still blog. I can still share these thinking in our writers group, The Inkwell. I can submit my best work for publication. I can still write.
After a night of tears and prayers offered up by the one who wasn’t crying – that would be Josh – I slept and woke up, made coffee and went to work. Like any other day. And I helped some sad people with messy lives and I sat on the edge of my seat, leaned in and heard them. I got involved again. But I still wanted to write. Still wanted to open a door of new.
I took a late lunch, but at least I got one. Standing by the office window for reception, I opened my email and saw this.
I sent this in a month ago, before the door that just closed had opened at all. I stopped hoping for this door, small as it might be. But here it was. It’s not a book getting published, but it’s one of my pieces. And by a group of recognized, gifted writers, the Burnside Writers Collective, people who take their work seriously. And now they’re taking me seriously.
I’m not a published author yet. But this is a step in the right direction. A back pat for my faithfulness, or maybe like a bowl of ice cream after a break up. Either way, it feels good, God. So thanks. I’ll take it. Feeling a little better already.
Maybe another door will open soon, my Hope chimes hopefully. But not a window. Please don’t open a window.