Jeremiah 29:11-13

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sliding Doors

  Some years ago, I saw a movie called "Sliding Doors."  The premise of it had to do with choices we make, "chance" encounters, paths we take, doors that open or close --ones we may enter or ones we deliberately or accidentally pass by.  Lately, I have given a lot of thought to those doors in my life, retrospectively speaking.  Hindsight is powerful.  God has opened a lot of doors in my life.  He has closed just as many, if not more.  The challenge for me has been to recognize His doors, and not the ones of the world.
    I do not have a discerning heart.  It is something I often pray for, but my trusting nature usually overrides any discernment the Holy Spirit places there.  I continue to believe the best of a person until he or she gives me a reason not to.  I am a giver of second and third chances.  When someone is not trustworthy, I eventually figure it out, but not usually before I am left feeling foolish and hurt, and, yes, determined not to be that way any more.  Even as I write this, I am laughing at myself for even thinking that I would ever approach a friendship or relationship of any kind any other way.  I believe it's my character flaw. It's also the reason that I often go through the wrong door.  God is patient with me.  He keeps gently nudging me towards the right door but I am a very slow learner... It is also why He gives me friends who do have discerning hearts.
     Here I am standing poised on the cusp of another new year.  I am older, but not necessarily wiser.  During this past week, I have been revisited by ghosts from a recent past that I have been trying to leave behind me.  A past that was fraught with a lot of heartbreak and pain.  A past that I would like to put away in a dark closet and forget about. Apparently, that is a door that will remain cracked open.  Perhaps the Lord doesn't want me to forget it.  Perhaps He would like me to remember so that I don't open myself up for that kind of pain again.  Perhaps He feels that a gentle reminder is better than a repetition of the kind of choices I made then.  I also believe with all my heart that He uses me to help others who are struggling down that painful road, like walking barefoot across jagged stones.  It is not a graceful walk... we stumble and limp and cry out in frustration.  I've hobbled down that path more than a few times.  I keep believing that God really does have a plan for me, a hope and a future;  He will make my crooked ways straight and smooth out the road so that I can dance barefoot like I do on the beach...
     I ran across this beautiful passage last weekend in Charleston when I with my daughter at the outdoor market downtown. It is written by an artist named Mary Anne Radmacher.  It perfectly reflects my definition of love...
     "Love is extended on the force of its existence - not because it is deserved.

      Love isn't completed as it is returned:  it is complete in its choice to be given.

      When faced with challenge love imagines freely.  When approached with harm love raises an open palm.

      When utterly betrayed love knows to walk away tall.

      When loved unconditionally love is able to thrive.

       When touched by appreciation love basks in gratitude.

       When shown a new way love becomes a student.

        When walked to a wall love finds a way to continue the journey home."

     As we begin this new year of our Lord, 2012, may you go through a door that is a God-given one.  May your heart be discerning and find its way safely home.