"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Jesus
”When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Alexander Graham Bell
I think we get it. We get that life changes. We get that one door closes and another one opens. We get that change can be good even though it creates anxiety in our life. And mostly, I think we can get excited about the possibility of something new once we begin to let go of what “has been.” I think most of us might wrestle most with not the doors. . . but the hallway. The hallway that we so often find ourselves in when life throws us a change or when we make a decision to change something significant in our life. Do you know what I mean by hallway? Places of transition - places of the “in between.” Things are often not as clear in the hallway. We second guess ourselves in the darkness of the hallway. Like Willie Wonka in the original movie, we see the hallway get longer and longer and smaller and smaller, right before our very eyes. We feel like we are in a fun house, but it doesn’t feel very “fun.”
The first step, of course, is making a decision that something needs to change or claiming a change that was forced upon us. That can come from a gut feeling, a subtle life shift, or a virtual push from a significant life event. Regardless of the impetus, the sound the door latch makes when it clicks closed behind you can be a frightening reminder of the change ahead. Once the door closes, there is little sane choice but to focus ahead and move on.
And we want to see the destination, don’t we? Sometimes it’s dark. A change that requires a blind spiritual faith can threaten to unnerve us but it can also help us to trust Christ whose vision is 20/20 all the time. I had the opportunity to, for the first time last week, put on some night vision goggles. It was incredible to look into a pitch black forest, and when those goggles go on, they allowed me to see everything through a green tint. It reminded me that God has different eyes than I have and what is dark to me, is still light to Him.
Once your in the hallway, the trouble often begins when you realize that where you're headed is a long way off; meaning you really can’t see or sense it at all. Sometimes it seems to go on endlessly. Occasionally there is a crossroads and you have to choose which hallway is your path. This can be a real dilemma. Most of the time there isn’t just one faithful way to move forward - often there are multiple ways, but prayer can help us discern. Having patience and faith and learning to trust Christ and listen for His voice sometimes gets harder and harder in the hallways before it gets easier.
There can be windows too. You will likely stop and look. There, just outside this window is another opportunity! If you are truly tired of the hallway and short on faith that you're headed somewhere better, you may be tempted to check to see if the window opens. Typically the window will be easy but will often lead to a fall that will cause pain and hurt. Because it’s a short cut. But this will be a temporary stop and you’ll end right back up in that hallway once again, more committed to finding the door thats right for you. And then you realize something, which is that the hallways isn’t just a way to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. It’s a way to “grieve” what was and prepare for what will be. It’s rarely fun, but almost always necessary. Maybe your time in the hallway has a purpose beyond the destination. You must ask yourself: what ‘clean up’ work do I have to do? Where and how do I need to grow? How can I strengthen my ties to Jesus and how is this hallway teaching me to trust Him above all else? (Thanks Margaret Sanborn for those questions).
One thing that every architect and house builder knows, that we often forget is this. . . hallways weren’t meant to be lived in but travelled through.
But don’t rush the hallway. Bonnie Serratore, in commenting on people that she counsels with says, “They want to rush the hallway. There is a distrust in the process. The truth is that the energy of releasing is different from the energy of creating. In the hallway, we begin to find clarity about the doors we want to step through. We become more discerning. We see things from a broader perspective. We appreciate our space and recognize how sacred it truly is. Our time and energy is precious. When we have put so much energy into clearing our space ... our views on doors begin to change. We move differently. We speak differently. We choose our people differently.”
In Jewish Culture, the threshold of a door is marked as a place of God’s blessing (Passover). In Indian Culture, the front doorway and threshold is seen as sacred where one is shaking off the “dust” of the streets and transition to the purity and sacredness of the home. And hallways connect the doorways. And both hallways and doorways have their purpose.
If you can’t identify any hallways in your life right now, then this blog probably just rambles on for you. But for those in transition, my prayer is that you trust the God of the doorway whose grace moves through every hallway of life - to carry us to and through the next threshold by the power of His Spirit.