Reflections on “When God Closes a Door”

I turned on The Sound of Music today to keep my head occupied while I started reorganizing my living space (a fall tradition).

It’s one of my favorite movies.  One of the things I really like about it is that every time I watch it, something else pops out at me.  Today’s thing was Maria’s reoccurring line:

“When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window”

I surprised myself by responding, “Yeah, I don’t think that’s always true.”

Sometimes I do believe that God/The Universe/Fate (G/U/F) does indeed close doors because the path to your true happiness lies elsewhere – hence the “open window”.  There is, in fact, a way out.  A better way.  A window is less easy to exit so it’s probably going to take some effort on your part to find it and climb out of it.

Sometimes I think G/U/F closes (slams) the door and leaves you in the dark.

On purpose.

Probably because you have to learn something about yourself.  You need to experience your own “emotional survival skills” if you will.  To help YOU see who you really are.  [see also: you’re stronger than you think you are]

There is no obvious way out.  You have to hunt in the dark.  If you do find a window it’s been painted over and nailed shut.  You try to pry it open and it won’t budge.  You try to shatter it and it won’t break.

But you have not been abandoned.  G/U/F is right there with you.  Silent and ever-present. You can scream and wail and ask “Why? Why? Why?” a thousand times and G/U/F will look you directly in the eyes and listen intently and not say one damned word.  You get no hints for this puzzle.

Me: “I know since you’re here that I’m supposed to be learning something.”
G/U/F: intense stare
Me: “You could at least point me in the right direction.”
G/U/F: intense stare
Me: “Is this fun for you?  Watching me flail around all helpless? What kind of sick bastard are you?”
G/U/F: intense stare
Me: “Why don’t you just leave then if you’re not going to help?”
G/U/F: intense stare

They’ll sit on the floor right next to you when you’re too weak to do anymore.  They’ll pet your hair when you cry yourself to sleep but They won’t help you get out.

You end up hunting in the dark for tools.  You try a bunch of things that don’t work.  You give up on being angry and try logic.  You give up on logic and try prayer.  You give up on prayer and get quiet.  So much time goes by you don’t remember what light even looks like anymore.

If you don’t give up eventually something starts to break you out.  Maybe you don’t even go out the window.  Maybe you use your fingernails and scratch through the whole wall. Maybe you dig a tunnel under the wall.  Maybe you finally scream so loud the walls fall down.

You’re out.  And there’s G/U/F looking right at you giving you that “Atta-Girl” look.  You’re exhausted like you just swam 100 miles.  You’re dehydrated and delirious.  You want to be pissed at G/U/F, and maybe you even act like you’re pissed at Them, but actually you’re pretty proud of yourself.  And maybe you even sort of understand a little why you had to go through that.  If only things instantly went back to being great right afterward – but things don’t work like that. Things have to evolve.  You don’t get to skip steps just because you know where you’re going.  Being a human is tedious, but at least it’s consistent.

So – When God closes a door somewhere She opens a window…sometimes.   But if you believe in yourself you’ll get out anyway even when She doesn’t.  Because that’s who you are.  Which is what She was trying to show you in the first place.

“Climb every mountain… ford every stream…”

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