The Wrong Door
One of THOSE days does not even begin to cover it.
The caboose weekend of one of the busiest months of my life was kicking itself off with a bang. Fussy child. Rain. No spinach. Coffee jitters.
It seemed like everything I tried to clean, Cadence pulled out.
Everything I tried to fix, broke.
Every time I tried to rush, I was late.
I had tried to cope with the stress by incorporating some extra yoga into my week, but all that served to do was to make my arms incredibly sore from one to many chaturangas.
(All of this, I realize is very petty, but you’re tracking with me, right?)
It was one of THOSE days.
We finally made it out to the grocery store at 4:45 sharp.
I had tried to start leaving the house at 2:30.
I wove my way down aisle after aisle, Cadence dropping bananas on the floor and screaming for “BUNNY!!!!!” crackers the whole way through.
After a highly stressful run through the store, punctuating a highly stressful day at the end of the HIGHEST level of stress possible month, I was tired, hungry, and ready to go home and put my child to bed 20 minutes before bed time.
I marched up to the car and pressed the clicker.
The car chimed, but the doors didn’t unlock.
I pressed it again.
I jammed the key into the front door lock, it wouldn’t budge.
I tried again, hoping for a different result.
(isn’t this the definition of insanity?)
“Are you SERIOUS!”
I screamed into the, thankfully, empty parking lot.
I whipped out my phone to call my husband, to let him know I was stuck at the grocery store with a cart full of food, a crabby child, and a car that wouldn’t unlock. I was also probably going to cry, let’s be real.
As the phone was ringing, a gentle voice called across the lot:
“Excuse me, ma’am?”
He sounded a little like Morgan Freeman as God.
I turned around, suddenly ashamed of my outburst.
“Is this your car over here?” He motioned to the car parked next to his. Identical to the one I was standing next to, cursing.
My mouth gaped.
“The lights flashed a second ago when you hit your button.”
I clicked it again, staring at the car across the lot.
Ashamed, I trudged across the lot, wanting to melt into the earth and disappear.
Middle school all over again.
The man laughed kindly, “I’ve done that before.”
“Thanks.” I muttered from my gut.
I loaded up my child, groceries and ego as fast as I could and drove off.
I wanted to cry. Then I tried to laugh at myself.
Finally, I just fell silent.
“You do that, you know.”
“You try to open the wrong doors because they look right to you on the outside.”
I started thinking about all the time I had tried to whip myself into positions or opportunities throughout my life, how it hurt when it didn’t work out, the embarrassment and doubt that flooded my mind with every rejection. The times I had held myself back fearing that a door I expected to open may not.
I thought about how I had tried to make sense of my gifts and talents, my very weird Type-A, right brain, ENFJ/P personality combo. How I had projected career path after career path for myself. How I feared that I would have to abandon all my dreams when I found out I was pregnant.
Then I thought about how, even though NOTHING has gone as planned in my life, I absolutely wouldn’t change a thing about where I am right now. Yes, sometimes it’s stressful, but it’s stressful because I’m so passionate about what I’m doing. As if each plate that I work to keep spinning is fine china from my great-great-grandmother. Priceless. Treasured.
I thought about how every closed door, every click I had made thinking it should unlock something when it didn’t, everything that seemed like failure or abandonment of a goal, had just led me to the doors I should be opening. Like a man with Morgan Freeman’s voice across the lot.
“Excuse me, that’s the wrong door you’re trying to open.”
I’m trying to hold on to that – embarrassment aside.
Because we all go through times like that, right?
When the doors look just like we think they should on the outside, they seem to be a perfect match. Just what we expected.
And then, we just can’t make them open. No matter how hard we try or how loud we cry.
Then like vultures circling over the dead carcass of our dreams, doubts swoop in and peck away at any shred of vision or worth left in the stinking pile that was our plan, our dream, our goal.
Just maybe the doors are not opening not because there’s something wrong with me or you or our keys,
maybe we’re just standing at the wrong door.