For the first time in many weeks I omitted a particular plea from my prayers. I haven’t given up in despair; rather, I have heard the answer: And it is no.
“No,” He said.
A flood followed the simple two-letter utterance – like a flood gushing through a cleft rent by a recent quake. A persistent rumble. A daily fixation. An unending string of wondering. And then, “Crack! Whoosh!” The water flows. Tears: of disappointment, of surprise, of relief, of hope . . . Tears wash away the debris.
After the flood, the mopping up commences. And then I look around, assess the damage, tabulate the cost, and (last-but-not-least) accept the gift – the gift of knowing where I stand, even if I find myself behind a locked door. For, every “no” contains the seeds of a “yes” to something else in a tomorrow awaiting its chance to become my today. Each closed door provokes a pause in my journey, but the journey does not end behind this sealed venue.
"Whenever God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window."
~~ Reverend Mother from Sound of Music ~~
"When one door of happiness closes, another opens;
but often we look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one which has opened for us."
~~ Helen Keller ~~
"When God shuts a door, He opens a window."
~~ Jewish Proverb ~~
And they that went in,
went in male and female of all flesh,
as God had commanded him:
and the Lord shut him in.
~~ Genesis 7:16 ~~
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house;
and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem,
he kneeled upon his knees three times a day,
and prayed, and gave thanks before his God,
as he did aforetime.
~~ Daniel 6:10 ~~
Today I sit beside an open window next to a closed door, gazing at a cornflower-blue sky. The most recent storm passed over us with thunder and lightening and water, water, water everywhere. For me, the stormy nights bring the greatest challenge. I find it hard to lie down and rest during a tempest, be it out there, in here, or in a teapot. “How much longer?” I have been known to wail at each passing peal. “How much more must I endure? If only I knew how long it was going to last!”
And then . . . s-i-l-e-n-c-e . . . it is done . . . the storm has passed.
After a weather episode of wind or rain or heavy snow, I immediately enjoy the peace; but soon, I survey the landscape for damage and direction. Downed trees, flooded flower beds, leaking fissures . . . Grab a -------- and let’s get to work! As we work, side-by-side with loved ones or as a solo instrument, the eyes wander to and fro finding gifts amongst the grit.
“Oh look, how beautiful that snow looks as it clings to those branches!”
“Well, we needed to get rid of that dead branch for some time;
guess the storm took care of it for us.”
“Hey, look what I just found over here! I misplaced this ages ago! Well, what do you know!”
In and among the damage and the gifts lies true loss and often pain; but seeds of hope carpet that barrenness in due time . . . if only I wait and watch with hopeful eyes. In the waiting space I can sit by the open window and pine, or I can live bathed in the streaming sunlight, breathing in the fresh breeze, waving to passersby as their journey continues unabated. Some may stop in for a cuppa and a chat, entertaining me with tales and exploits as they chase dreams and dodge arrows. Others hurry by at a pace that affords a mere wave. Most scurry by my window, unaware of me at all, hidden in a blind hurry to make the next appointment. I see myself in their eyes, I know their anxious scuffle all too well, and I wonder when I will once again mount up and ride out toward a new adventure or battle or sunset.