People like to say clichés like “when one door closes, another windows opens,” to make themselves feel better about the ups and downs in their lives. It’s a nice thought, but it doesn’t work in real life. I don’t fully buy into the idea that parts of your life can fully close forever, and I hope you don’t either.
There will be some people who you will never see again. There will be some places you will never return to. There will be some experiences you cannot relive. Those things are true, those could be considered doors that are permanently shut.
But the impacts of those things – they never shut off completely. You are constantly living them, interpreting and reinterpreting them. It would be foolish to think we fully understand the magnitude of the people and experiences we have lived the second they have happened.
I forgot this crucial point. I forgot that there is no such thing as shutting down any part of my story completely. That means that I cannot forget, I cannot ignore, and I cannot overlook my emotions that are tied to my story.
I forgot that when you choose to ignore your emotions, they don't ever go away. They simply lay dormant until they find the most inconvenient opportunity to remind you that you forgot about them.
I forgot that I am a complex and confusing human being, just like everyone else. I can be happy and sad at the same time, and sometimes within the same hour, because my life is not ever going to be fully sorrowful or fully cheerful. It is a balance of the two, and I will do everything I can to make sure I’m choosing joy over sorrow.
I forgot that I serve a God who gently but forcefully takes any inclination to seek justice out of my own hands. That I serve a God who knows I am an imperfect daughter who will become angry about things beyond her control, but a God who says: be angry, but let me back into your life to bring you joy. I serve a God who can overwhelm my anger with peace in a way that other imperfect humans simply cannot.
I forgot that it's okay to look back in regret, but only in order to know better for the future. It's okay to reflect. It's okay to feel the emotions your heart is begging you to feel.
I forgot that stories are a work in progress, that you never fully close the door on one to make way for another. They are constantly moving, constantly growing, and constantly building on top of each other. To shut one off completely would be to diminish its impact on your life. And as much as I would love to fully close the door to so many things, to do so would also close the door to any opportunity of growth.
And that’s the whole point, right? As imperfect sons and daughters we are called to be constantly growing, changing, and becoming more and more like Christ. Our stories are not dormant, they are not locked behind closed doors, they are living parts of us.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16.
Originally written June, 2015.