Going to church was a required when I was a kid. No matter how much I complained, my mother always said that if I listened I would hear something of value. Once I started going to church again after a very long hiatus, I find I automatically listen for a message. Some morsel that can help me live a better life or be a better person. My takeaway last Sunday was open the doors. Nothing, and I mean nothing good can happen if we keep our doors closed. We cannot be in a relationship, we cannot be heard, we cannot learn from others and anything we create exists only in the dark. We tell ourselves at least we are safe.
Living without having our doors open is like trying to live without eating. And yet this is how I lived for most of my adult life, a survivor’s life that was almost entirely based on never being a victim again. So my existence was one of hiding and protectionism, no risk and therefore no possibility of reward.
In my recovery I have been teaching myself to open my doors to people, relationships and new experiences. In lowering my walls I have converted what I previously perceived as great risks, into what I now find exciting, stimulating and rewarding. My desire to feel better and heal my broken self has motivated me to risk trying new approaches to life. The old ones just weren’t working.
From this point forward I will be visualizing physically opening a door to life. I am willing to give up the protection of my walls for the beauty I now know exists outside. What do I have to lose? I have lived with disappointment, anger, sarcasm and skepticism all my life, so even if I have a bad experience once in a while, I can deal with that. The gain from living a vulnerable life has become enriching food for my soul. It is a hundred times more powerful than the pain I felt living in denial.
Because my doors are now open and we can see each other, I want to thank all the people I have been meeting for the spiritual connection you seem willing to share with me. I am finding our differences no longer matter. You are not the ogre, sloth or ignoramus I thought you were. Our clothes, lifestyle, ideology, skin color, or sexuality become superficial. I can see your soul through your eyes and it is there that we are all connected.
Wherever I meet you, in church, at a conference, online, or in a coffee shop I am going to try to remember how special you are and what our encounter can mean to both of us if we are willing to open our doors. As you walk your healing path, think of what your world might look like if you stop letting the potential downside determine your actions. I think you will be amazed at the richness that comes to your door. I am.