(The alliteration in “squashed” and “squeamish” was too good to pass up.)
Sometimes childhood is scarring: a burn here, a zig-zag white line from a sneaky piece of barbed wire, a smallish knot from a poorly-placed steel trapeze on a playground; I’m sure you can commiserate.
Lately, I’m realizing that I have been deeply and traumatically scarred by my experience with car doors. Slamming. On fingers. Or other appendages. Need I say more?
I didn’t think so.
But it’s not in the way you might think. My fingers and toes are all intact, despite my best efforts as a child. However, I have an ingrown fear of closing doors to this day. Logically, it must be a product of my childhood, right?
(the not-so-clever metaphor begins to emerge)
All the grad school news is in. My mail delivery person is probably breathing huge sighs of relief. And now – or rather between now and Wednesday and then April 15 – it’s decision-making time.
I would have no difficulty deciding to go to a particular school, if it weren’t for a tiny problem: I have to say ‘no’ to the other schools at which I was accepted. That means they can give away my hard-won spot and scholarships. That means I can’t change my mind last minute. That means I have to close some doors.
I have an ingrown fear of closing doors.
Why is that? I can think of a couple reasons. 1) I forget that it’s a metaphor, and I really don’t want to lose another fingernail. 2) I suffer from “the grass is greener” syndrome. 3) I am afraid of making a mistake that I then can’t change. 4) I don’t trust that God is in control.
Staying in limbo is much easier because there are no doors. Leaving an “out” is vital when I’m the one running the show. Holding back is wiser when I’m living in the shadow of my past failures or those of people around me. But it’s very limiting.
It’s impossible to move ahead without closing some doors. The hard part is trusting God to help me close the right ones (and making sure all fingers and toes are safely on the other side before slamming).
So if you see me repeatedly opening and closing my car doors between now and April 15, in the wise words of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, don’t panic. I’m just practicing.