“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about closing doors lately.
With my oldest child in first grade and my youngest about to start preschool, the door to my life as a mother to young children is closing. Our days of spontaneous outings and flexibility, of hand-holding and lap-sitting, of protection and dependence are numbered and the sound of that heavy door creaking shut is deafening. There were times when I felt like this time would never come, but as these little people continue to grow up and out and away, it’s hard not to feel an incredible loss. It’s hard to fight the urge to cling to the closing door of the past.
Of course, doors are always closing.
And doors are always opening.
Not just for me, but for everyone. We lock the doors of old homes, and move into new ones. We shed old habits, and develop new ones. Friendships end, and new ones begin. We leave jobs and start new ones, only to eventually move on from those jobs for something else.
If there is one constant in life, it’s that things are always changing. Sometimes the doors of change slam shut with a welcome bang. Like when my husband and I started dating and I happily closed the door on single life. And when my second son was born, healthy and full term, and I thanked God that I could finally close the door on the years of infertility and miscarriages. And, more recently, when my husband’s work commitments eased up a few weeks ago, and our whole family enjoyed closing the door on his oppressive work schedule and separation from the family.
Other times, however, the change isn’t quite so welcome and my natural tendency is to cling to the closing door so that I can stick to what I know. After my oldest son was born, I longed for the freedom and independence that had vanished behind the closed door of my pre-kid life. And now that he is away at school all day, and my life as a stay-at-home mom has been flipped upside down, I feel an almost physical pain as I lament the all-too-quick passage of time.
Standing with one foot on the threshold of a closing door, cautiously placing the other foot across to the other side, I feel lost and confused, uncertain about where I belong and what the future holds. I feel unsettled and fidgety and moody as these doors close and I grope for the handles of new doors to open.
I am stumbling through the bumpy transition process from one door to the next – mourning the loss of comfort and security that lies behind some closed doors and celebrating the conclusion of the struggles that lie behind others – and I am trying to remind myself that there is always an open door waiting.
Sometimes it feels like there is an interminably long hallway between one door and the next.
Sometimes the hallway seems dark and cavernous, with long shadows and dim lights.
But sometimes the hallways are filled with possibility and opportunity, growth and grace.
And sometimes the hallways turn out to be the door that we were looking for all along.
What doors are closing and opening for you?