Opinion: The doors of our lives

Commentary by Terry Anker

Famed American inventor Alexander Graham Bell, once said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

Too much his words reflect in our own lives. We set course planning to move from one space to another without considering a contingency plan. Like people exiting a crowded theater only using the door that is propped back rather than opening any of an array of other adjacent exit doors. We imagine our route, then line up as if our brains cannot conceive of another.

Yet whether we can find a new course on the map or not, life continues to move. We pass along its corridors barely noticing until we find a portal locked, obstructing our smooth passage. We bang at the door, demanding it yield to us. We rage at those we imagine behind the impenetrable way. We strive diligently to overtake it and, in failing, collapse in our own grief believing that our lives will go no further, trapped by our own conception.

Yet even if our work creates a path to open, get around or simply break through the barrier to allow us to continue along our way, we might expend such vast resources so as to turn the victory into a loss. How do we know it is time to look for another portal? When does, as the adage dictates, discretion become the better part of valor?  And when is it best to persevere?

With time comes wisdom, and our own measure of grit is determined. We learn when to pound the door and when to find another. But isn’t all made easier if we remember Bell’s admonishment that it is a rare journey with only one path to its final destination?