It occurred to me one hectic day on public transport in a big city: We are ALWAYS in transition. We never stop coming or going. We go out of the womb and come in to the world. We go in and out of relationships (hopefully unscathed), in and out of jobs, in and out of seasons, breathe in and eventually out of breath.

It may be metaphorically cliché, but I have opened and closed some doors recently because it was what I thought I wanted. Some I slammed shut (not physically) and others I left a crack open (mentally). Sometimes in life we walk out of certain doors, knowing we may never enter them again. Other times we walk out knowing that whomever is on the other side has some kind of “open door” policy that we can always come back into as needed.

This has been such a difficult season of transition for so many dear friends. Divorce. Grandparents pass away. We lose our jobs. We breakup. We meltdown. I’m not sure if life was always this difficult to cope with, or if we are all just now realizing that this isn’t what we signed up for. It’s as if circumstances and refining wildfires are all flowing into a discordant mixture of voices competing for our sanity. It is all making us question beliefs and values, relationships and devotions, our decisions and potential fallouts.

Then again, this could be that scary reality that we naively dismissed in our youth after a repeated story from grandpa about how he had to walk uphill to school BOTH ways in the snow with NO shoes: LIFE IS HARD.

Walking through the Devonshire street tunnel the other day, there was an elderly woman singing “Ave Maria” beautifully. She was singing it as though she was also cleaning house, but hoping to impress enough for a gold coin or two. It was a song and an effort born from tiredness and pain, poverty and desperation. She had a story. Like the man at the bus stop who told me he has been homeless most of his life, but now washes cars to pay rent in his shared accommodation–both of them were surviving each day simply by showing up.

These everyday transitions become our story.

My therapist used to say, “stay in the process” almost every time I met with her because she knew my tendencies to just want it all to be over and not work through the hard stuff. It has been my mantra lately. I forget that this is all part of becoming, how we each create our own legacy, and how we all learn and grow.

There are doors that we do not even know exist yet that will change everything once we walk through them.

Walking into that job interview that would mean moving houses, into that restaurant where we’ll have the best date we’ve ever had, into the hospital to meet a niece or nephew, into that church to say “I do,” or into another country to behold sights and sounds that allow us to marvel–these things may be igniting a passion for something we had never thought of before.

We can enter transitions with gratitude, allow ourselves to be transformed by the circumstances, and exit with trust that no matter what happens, we will be OKAY. Eventually.

There might be a few ugly doors we have to walk in and out of, but there is always something NEW on the other side, even if it is just our outlook. Each day holds hope and potential for both good and bad. We survive each day simply by showing up, walking through doors, and marveling at what could happen next.


Photo Credit: Frank Terry via Darling Issue 19.