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Open Doors



I'm starting this with a title and no idea what I'm going to say. I just know that I put my art in a holiday bazaar last Saturday, talked to a lot of people about it, and some of the conversations were open doors to new opportunities. Of course I don't know what might happen; that's a given with open doors.

We all have these experiences, whatever we call them: a feeling of recognition when we read a book or walk into a business, a sense that I've known someone all my life, even though we just met. A connection over a sales counter, an encouraging email, and, of course, an actual invitation. The common denominator is the sense that a "welcome" sign is hanging over the situation, the presence of possibility. My friend MaryJo and I connected over a five cent library fine. Twenty-five years later, we are fast friends who have commiserated over the children, ruckuses, dogs, and gourds we've raised. I found a wonderful printer for my artwork in Indianapolis by noticing an open door in a Google search: a business with my great-grandmother's maiden name.

Then the question arises, what do I do with the door standing open in front of me? Do I accept the invitation, extend an invitation to lunch, start a correspondence? Do I buy every other book that author wrote, watch an actor's every movie? Do I agree to an offer that will amount to months of work? The issue with open doors is, do I walk through?

I do know this: nothing breaks my heart more than watching someone walk past a door I know is open...but they don't. Brushing off a child's hug, a pleading look, a hand-written "please come!" below the printed part of the invitation, these things cause a deep pain in my heart. It's a feeling of squandered possibilities, and it bothers me a lot. The feeling of ships passing in the night haunts and hurts me. I am married today because I walked through a door to a lunch invitation rather than brush it off. I confess, I made the decision to go because of a Facebook post of a giddily happy mutt who looks exactly like my dog, running full-tilt toward the viewer, and under him the caption: "Live like someone left the gate open." Gee willikers.

I'm writing this post today because I'd rather do it than make up my mind on a couple of doors that have opened, and that's the thing. Not every door should be walked through, and the rub is, how to tell the difference. "Ask God" is the answer, and it takes some time and some quiet listening. Am I feeling a gut-check, or a go-ahead?

Sometimes a signpost accompanies an open door. Coincidences that shout at us. Gut feelings that won't go away, (and are not emotional.) Doing something for no reason at all--and finding out later it saved a buck, or an hour, or a life. When I gave notice that I was leaving my nice job, I asked God if I was nuts to quit a day job to go be an artist. That same day, five calls came in, offers to pay me for art that was already done. Really. I considered this a sign from Him.

He talks to us. He opens some doors for us--and closes others. He does, after all, "stand at the door and knock." He's not unfamiliar with the concept. I don't know what lies on the other side of the doors that have opened, but I feel clearer than I did when I started writing. Thanks!


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