I think sometimes God closes doors to guide us to another path. Closed doors get us thinking and offer the opportunity to consider and pursue new directions. Closed doors can motivate us and get our creative juices going. They can be tricky and disappointing, but in the end, things always seem to work. At this point in life, we’ve all encountered our share of closed doors and we also have enough perspective to see where life might have been were we to have had a particular door open to us. Here are a few closed doors I’ve encountered and how they look to me now.
Would I have been happy staying in my home town and marrying my high school sweetheart, I wonder. At age 18, I was both in love and torn. My sister told me he wasn’t interested in me and was seeing other people—door closed. So, after I’d married someone else, I learned that what my sister had been wrong. Though with my being married to someone else at that point, the door was definitely closed. I would have been with a wonderful guy, no doubt about that, though. I can’t and couldn’t imagine what it would have been like staying in my home town, possibly going to community college there and choosing one of the few jobs available most of which were service or clerical—none of would have offered me the opportunities nor the adventures that have shaped me into the person I am now. It would have been safe, and I would have been loved, but I would have become a completely different person.
Oh, and there was the time the door to the Good Ole Boys room at work was closed. I was working my tail off, and crushing it, but always seemed to be on the outside of the door. If I got in, I thought, I’d get better assignments, be in on all the planning, have a little influence over the direction we were taking and maybe make more happen—I was full of ideas and excited to bring them to fruition. One day I was invited in. Shock of shocks, the guys just sat around reciting the dialog from Caddy Shack and Spaceballs and giggling over our buxom receptionist. Completely disgusted and bored, I was much less miserable being on the outside of the door working my tail off. The old adage, “be careful what you wish for” comes to mind. It did give me a new direction: I started looking for another job.
Speaking of doors closed in the workplace, when I was working my way up through the ranks, women were rarely given the opportunity for mentoring or leadership experience so when promotion time rolled around, the guys in management training always had the edge. Knowing I needed to gain experience and mentoring from somewhere, I began reading and studying everything I could about management, and leadership. To get hands on experience, I joined a women’s club—Junior League to be exact, which gave me the leadership training and experience I needed to move forward. Sure, it would have been great to have gotten training through the workplace, but the League offered a comprehensive view of the community in addition to the hands on training I got as a committee chair and working through the league hierarchy. This training gave me an executive level perspective which I would not have gotten even in the company sponsored management programs. Some times a closed door gives us the opportunity to do something even better than we might have otherwise done.
I’ve recognized that all those doors closing and others opening have lead me to the life I live today, and while it hasn’t always been a bed of roses, I have an amazing daughter, a wonderful relationship with Roger and I am pursuing a passion I’ve had my whole life, writing about fashion, beauty and life.
When doors seem closed, I start praying. I’ve found that asking the questions, “What’s the next step forward,” “What should I try next?” And, “what are my options?” work lots better than banging on the door, crying “Why me?” “Let me in!” or lamenting what might have been. I’ve also learned that things don’t always work on my timeline. I’ve learned to sit back a little and let things shake out a bit, and I remind myself that doors are always closing with new ones opening, that’s part of the adventure that is life.
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