Change and how People Deal with it

“When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long, and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

I was reading through random blogs this evening, and I found this quote. It’s by Alexander Graham Bell. For many years, I have heard that quote about one door closing and another one opening. But the best additional quote I’ve ever heard, about this subject, was by Pastor Jentezen Franklin, who said, “But it’s hell in the hallway!”

And hell in the hallway it is! I have been through this door scenario many times in my life, and it is excruciating. Every time I get all “comfy cozy” in a work or family situation, those darn doors start closing. And maybe it’s just me, but the older I get, the less I seem to welcome change. The world is changing so fast, and lately I’ve lost my way. I always like to say that I can’t even get stamps out of the machine anymore. It asks me questions…can you believe it? We are talking to way too many machines these days! A friend of mine told me that her mom pulled up to McDonald’s to place an order. She heard a voice say, “Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?” She politely gave her order, and waited. But the voice once again asked for her order. She explained that she had just given her order, only to look out her window, to see that she had mistakenly been talking to the trashcan, instead of the speaker, which was a little farther ahead. That sounds like something I’d do these days!

But getting back to the topic of doors closing and opening, it seems that Alexander forgot to tell us that this doesn’t often happen simultaneously. There’s usually a definite pause between the closing and the opening. Sometimes a long pause. And we find ourselves in that dreadful hallway I mentioned earlier-wondering where to go next.It seems like God delights in stirring my nest. And He always waits until I am comfortably settled in, and then he gives me the boot. (I’m sure you’ve heard that’s the way mama eagles do it also. They will literally push the eaglets out of the nest, in order to teach them to fly. And just when the poor little things think they are falling without a parachute, the mother eagle swoops down and catches them. After a few times of this, they start flying on their own.)

Maybe that’s what God has in mind with all this door closing-door opening shenanigans. It seems that some of us aren’t meant to just do one thing our whole lifetime. (Probably not many people are.) But then there’s my husband. He’s always been a lawyer, and always will be. I doubt he’ll ever even retire.

But me-I’m a thousand breezes blowing. I’ve been fortunate enough in my life-not to always have to have a steady job, in order to survive. (Though for my first marriage, I surely did.) Our story was much like Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw in Love Story. Peanut butter sandwiches, fish-sticks, hot dogs, noodles, and a movie or McDonald’s on the weekend…but never both. It was a difficult existence, but in the beginning we were so starry-eyed and in love, that we didn’t notice the struggle. But it got really old living like that about the 7th year. That was when we got a divorce. (It’s a long story for another day.)

At any rate, I’ve worked as a clerk typist for the government, I’ve been a nursery worker, had a childcare business at home, was a professional singer, a cocktail waitress, worked as office manager in my husband’s law office, and was a Christian radio DJ. (That was my all time favorite.) That led to me writing and recording my own radio show for nine years, called “Love Notes.” That was the most creative and fun job (or ministry) that I’ve ever had. I hope someday that I can do radio again, because I absolutely love it! Another activity I’ve enjoyed was being the Captain of the Sign Team in our church, years ago. We would use sign language to Christian music, as a form of expressive worship. It was beautiful. And it was meant to be the art form of the sign language, not word for word, like for the deaf. (Almost like dancing with your hands.) But we even had a deaf man on the team for awhile. Later, I taught a Ladies Expressive Worship School. That was really fulfilling also. I loved teaching them what I had learned, and several went on to take that form of worship to their churches.

My husband and I owned a Christian coffeehouse, Crossroads, for 4 years. We sang there on the weekends, and held a Bible study on Sunday evenings. While we were there, our former pastor, L.M. Thorne, came to the coffeehouse and ordained us as ministers. We are Charismatic Christians (Spirit-Filled). We believe in all the gifts of the Spirit.

But after 4 years, we had to sell the coffeehouse. We couldn’t make enough money to keep it open. Once when I was crying about all the money we’d lost, a friend said, “Don’t cry. Just be glad you had that much to lose.” Say what? (Well, I never thought of it that way.)

For about 3 years, I was a poster, and later a Moderator on a Grief Discussion Board. I pursued that like it was my life’s commitment. I hope I helped grieving people. I know they helped me. But there was a parting of the ways that left me feeling shell-shocked and hurt. Still, it was a very good place to get healed, and to help others heal.

So after that, I guess you could say I’ve been in the hallway. My teenage daughter put us through a wild and woolly time her last years at home. Both of my dads died- my biological dad, Lonnie, and my step-dad, Sam, (my dad since I was 7.) That left me as the primary caregiver for my mom, who is elderly and not well. So you don’t have to wonder what I’ve been doing for the last almost 3 years. But I am glad to do it, and I have decided that as long as she is here, I will devote myself to her, and see that she has the best possible care. It has been a time of bonding that never would have happened any other way, I guess. It has also been the most difficult time of my life, with the exception of the 15 years spent raising my strong-willed daughter. (We adopted her at 3.) That’s also another story. She is on her own right now, and seems to be doing better. She has many good qualities, and a Christian upbringing. (In time, I am sure she will find her way, as we all eventually do.) She’s a very talented girl, and she sings beautifully. (She’s my babygirl always!)

So about the hallway that I find myself in. It’s hell in the hallway, as Jentezen said, but it’s even worse if you fight the process. What I’m learning, is to be content in whatever situation I find myself. It’s a lot easier to ride the waves, than to wrestle them. Change is a necessary part of life.

I told my counselor that I had always wanted to be somebody, and that I felt like a failure, since I didn’t have a career (or even a job for awhile.) She laughed and said I was somebody, and that anyone can work at Walmart (not putting Walmart down at all.) She just pointed out that I have had the opportunity in my life to do some unique, creative things. Like right now, I am doing some freelance writing, and I absolutely adore writing. It’s funny, when I was in college and took those job interests tests, mine always came back that I was interested in being in the clergy, a photographer, a writer, or something in the arts. I just have never found my place in the 9 to 5 world for long. (But I know I have been blessed, because so many people face that world daily, in order to eat and pay rent.) I have been there, and I understand.

So…here I am in the hallway. A 3 year hallway-where one door has closed, and another one has-stayed shut. But hey, the hallway’s not so bad, once you get used to it…