The Danger of Open Doors

A sunrise warms a snowy morning and reflects off bay windows and doors in Tofte, Minnesota.

On a beautiful, breezy evening, I watched someone struggle with an open door.

She was tired and confused, and she wasn’t sure where the open door would take her. She’d already had a long day — a day packed with challenges that filled her with both wonder and fear. In her exhaustion, she couldn’t conceive of the idea that the open door would lead her to something rejuvenating and rewarding. She couldn’t imagine it would lead to something good.

When she studied the open door, exchanging glances with those around her, she did a double take. She fought the impulse to walk through it. She squinted her eyes. She looked behind her. She turned in a full circle, more than once.

It was strange, because this girl lives for the present. She thrives on strenuous activity and craves new adventures.

Granted, she was born into a strong tendency — a tendency to anticipate the future. Sometimes, the impulse is so strong, it gives her unchecked anxiety. It’s in her breed. She happens to have four paws. That’s right. This someone is my dog, an uber-smart, Australian Shepherd mix, who I consider my ‘spirit animal.’ In this outburst, my furry companion had something to teach me.

When we’re weighed down by fear and anxiety, it’s too easy focus on the danger of open doors.

An open door is riddled with problems, least of all letting the bugs in. To some, an open door is an invitation to rob and pillage. To others, an open door exposes too much of our private lives, revealing our personal struggles. To my dog, an open door leads to so much open space, she could literally get lost out there.

Open doors pose questions, too.

What if we pass through an open door too early or too late? What if we cross the threshold, and we never come back? What if, on our journey, we forget something important or leave someone behind? What if we take an opportunity to move through the open door, and instantly regret it?

Maybe the Aussie was right. If I were her, standing there in total exhaustion, faced with an open door, I would have gone in circles, too.

I am, actually. These days, I find myself standing at an open door, turning in circles. But there’s more to an open door than the fear of what might happen next. Just ask my dog, Josie.

When she finally calmed down enough to walk through the open door, without spinning and jumping frantically, she was rewarded beyond her imagination. Even though she was exhausted, she got to take a ride in the car — one of her favorite things — and she soon arrived on the spacious patio of a burger joint. A dog-friendly one, of course. She was seated beside her two favorite people in the universe, and she was greeted with eager rubs and ear scratches. Then she cozied up to an icy bowl of water, and relaxed, while her humans fed her pieces of meat and cheese.

It sounds crazy, but it was the just the cutest thing! For this girl, it was immensely rewarding. I digress. Still, that’s the thing…

The beauty of an open door is the opportunity that waits beyond it. It may be daunting, and it can be extremely difficult to take that first step, but we owe it to ourselves to cross the threshold. Even if we have to make painful decisions in the process, a bright future is waiting for us just on the other side.

The only trouble with open doors, aside from our tendency to push them shut, is the moment we decide not to walk through them. So, instead, walk calmly, take courage, and find your strength. You never know when you’ll be faced with an open door.


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