It’s the beginning of the year, which is usually around the time I think about when I started my first full time position in youth ministry. I have been in Savannah for just short of five years and it’s actually crazy for me to think about when my mind goes back to the start.
I had just finished college and was standing in a place that I like to refer to as the hallway. I had interviewed for a job that I really wanted and was waiting to hear back. A lot of people like to use the metaphor of a waiting room, but the more I wait in life, the more I see that there’s more than one door we can walk through.
The hallway, a place where I often live, is actually full of doors. Some are closed, some are open, and some are cracked. Cracked doors can be the worst. But they can also be pretty great.
So back to 2011. I am waiting on a call that most people had told me was just not going to come. I prayed. Every day, actually. And I called. Probably too often for anyone’s liking. As much as that door could close, it could open, and I wanted to wait until I knew for sure.
There’s this hopeful anxiety we encounter in the hallway. There is uncertainty and dreams that are created. A story we make up with much anticipation. Sometimes our focus is so great on one door, that we dare not glance at any other doors, in case we miss the opening of the one we most desire.
There were a lot of days where I lost hope, but most days I had a “feeling” that I would be moving out of the hallway soon. I refused to look at any other doors, in case mine would open, even just a little bit. Somewhere in the early part of spring I got the call and that “feeling” (the Holy Spirit) was affirmed as the door flew open. In April of 2011, I was given the opportunity to leave the hallway and cross the threshold into a new chapter. A chapter I still love so much today.
There’s something about the hallway though, where it feels like our hope can die. My story started a great chapter, but that’s not always the case in the hallway. It can turn into a dark place. And when we anticipate certain doors to swing open, we can live under a cloud of disappointment.
Doors don’t always open. Sometimes they slam in our face. Sometimes we don’t get the job. Or we’re not chosen for something we know or feel would be a great thing. Sometimes we have to shut the door ourselves and we’re called to grieve the death of that dream.
It can be so hard for us to see a closed door as a good thing. We feel like we know better, which can make leaving that closed door so difficult. Our instinct may be to kick down the door we so desperately want. We cling to the last chapter, but when we do, we prolong the opportunity to write the next one.
I’m not sure what your hallway looks like. I can’t promise you that the door you want to walk through the most will open, but I know that we live in a world with a lot of doors. I don’t really like the phrase “when God closes a door, he opens a window…or another door…” or whatever. I think that we are called to pray our way through the hallways of life. To never give up on the doors we want the most. And to grieve the loss of the doors that shut.