By Kenneth Stepp
Doors, I think about doors more than most people I think. I use them as metaphors often. The revolving doors that many who find themselves single again have in their lives, death is a door. I believe that with everything in me. Today I’ll talk about my door.
I became single after 24 years with my wife in 2013. What happened next would make a great book or books. Suffice to say that the road of singleness is full of many things, excitement, disappointments, pain, confusion and hurt. My journey was no different.
When a person gets hurt enough they build walls to protect themselves from more pain. It’s a natural defense and most experience this. The confusion will get to you as well. Being single is not for the faint of heart. It will break you and toughen you up at the same time.
First I’ll tell a story that created this particular door metaphor in my head. Years ago I worked for a high rise building in downtown Atlanta. Thirty one floors of climate and I worked in that while my employer paid for my engineering degree. I was learning to do what I did every day.
One day my boss told me to change the bearings out of a fan on one of the top floors. He was actually punking me. It was a two man job and usually took 2 days. I went first thing in the morning and at lunch he laughingly asked if I was done. Yep, I finished then came to eat. Now everyone was laughing
We all got up and went to the floor and the fan was running like new. My boss asked, how did you do that? I walked him to the side wall outside of the fan room. I made a hidden door with hinges on the inside. They had been dissembling the fan from the inside instead of looking for an alternative way. I was the new guy and didn’t know the old way.
Now about my walls. You see, I installed a hidden door for those too. Most will look and see the walls. They are high thick and formidable. Some will see the hidden door. It’s almost imperceptible but it’s there. The walls only keep those who look superficially while driving by. The door is for those who take the time to find it. Look close, it’s there.
My life is full of amazing people now. Walls aren’t always designed to keep people out. Mine are designed to keep the right people in. Once in, I will fight hard to keep them. Two quotes come to mind. The first, “Everyone I ever let go of has claw marks on them”. So true of me. The other is, “I collect people”. I created that one myself.
If I get to know someone and see the qualities I want in a friend, I collect them if they let me. This would be a great place for a smiley face. I know people who fill their lives with things and stuff. I used to be one of them. Having had much and lost all really sucked. But I learned what mattered and what didn’t. Today my life is filled with those who found my door.
We all change. I talk about becoming a lot. Philosophically it sounds better that changing but it’s basically the same thing. We are all becoming something and what life throws at us, our response and the people we welcome inside our walls all play a role in what we become.
I’ve become and am becoming. That sounds like a poet from the 1970’s but it’s true of all of us. The good news is we decide who we become. So examine your wall. Make sure that door is well hidden and only those who really want to be a part of your life can find it. Do life, don’t let life do you. Yes, I made that one up too…