This is the door to our smoke house, which is actually more of a garden shed right now. The door was salvaged from a century-old Land Run house in northwestern Oklahoma, a property belonging to my husband’s family. I fell in love with the chipped milk paint (original, not fashioned in a trendy boutique), the heft of the door, the memories attached. Its hinges are rusted and the window opening is only covered by hand pleated drop cloth fabric stapled on, a band aid really, but it’s beautiful to me. I love how ivy grows around it and how it creaks and swells with rain. How difficult it is to open and close. You have to kinda lift and scoot it. At the threshold, mud collects and sometimes we find snakes and scorpions.
Most doors are easy to open and close. That’s the nature of most doors, to be used and used easily and often. But we barely use this outbuilding, at least not on a daily basis, so having a cumbersome but beautiful door here is fine.
Speaking of doors that aren’t supposed to open much…
Do you remember the Worry Door? The vision I had almost exactly three years ago of the big, thick door that was forcibly (but lovingly) sealed shut against a room containing all of my worst fears? Well, something strange and wonderful has been evolving here lately. The Worry Door has been cracking open, only to be either pushed shut in a spongy, gentle way (like we do this antique wooden door with the muddy scorpion-rich threshold) or maybe, sometimes, left just barely ajar.
Weird, right? After so many lessons on keeping it locked shut, no matter what?
Well, in the time since my first hard lesson that worry is wrong, I have been on a spiritual and emotional roller coaster. I’ve learned a lot not just about the direction to worry not and only trust but also about my own personal strengths and weaknesses, my own propensities and, honestly, addictions to negative thinking.
And you know something? I have made a ton of progress. I have literally broken my addiction to negative thinking, and now I kind of have a healthy aversion to it. When I am in the company of people who cannot resist bitterness or anger or something similar, I get itchy. My vision narrows and turns inward to sort of protect myself, you know? Like a filter. My heart can feel some fear but now I deal with it swiftly. My mind can be aware of horrible possibilities but sort through them and take action instead of simmering in awfulness and poisoning my reality. I’m learning how to magnetize for amazing things, not terrible.
For these changes I am so deeply grateful.
The reason it is now safe for me to sometimes leave the worry door cracked open is that I have learned how to funnel that previously dangerous energy into prayer and allow a healthy amount of fear to fuel my days instead of douse them. Does that make sense? This is such a far cry from how life was before the Worry Door vision. The world is expanding, in really tangible ways and in beautifully abstract ones, to so many possibilities. Imagination, prayers, faith, and exponential growth. Love is ruling everything, even the cracked open doors.
We have a lot going on in life, a whole lot of really heavy stuff that never makes it to this blog. Private struggles, family issues, church problems, seriously life altering stuff that Handsome and I never thought we would face. As cathartic as writing can be, I have so far felt like sharing most of it here is just not appropriate. We barely even discuss most of this stuff with our closest friends and loved ones, because we know by now that only prayer and trust will change anything. Talking about problems tends to grow them, you know? Still, some people know a little about what we are dealing with, and occasionally a well meaning friend will ask me a question like, “Well have you heard from…? How long has it been now?” And when I answer truthfully the look of shock or maybe disappointment in me as a person is pretty hurtful. Or maybe, in an incredulous tone, someone challenges me, “Well what if (this) happens? What will you do? What is your legal recourse? Aren’t you gong to do anything?” Surely from the outside some people may think me apathetic by taking less action than they would in my situation, but they don’t see how firmly I am trusting God. How excited I am by what is coming.
Maybe they don’t see that praying and believing is doing.
Yep, I know this sounds a little vague and for that I’m sorry, but it’s just an example of how your Worry Door can be cracked open by someone else. Despite your best efforts, sometimes other people will very nearly insist that you fret over stuff. They mean it with love, usually. They want what they perceive to be the best thing for you. Okay. And sometimes they could be projecting their own fear onto you. Trying to find solutions ahead of time in case the same tragedy befalls them later. That’s human nature. Don’t waste energy being mad about this, and please don’t let it end any otherwise good friendships; just learn how to field it.
One more thought, then I will leave you to your beautiful Sunday: Yoga has been a useful tool in this journey. Often in a sequence, the instructor of choice will offer advice to just acknowledge a toxic thought and let it pass. Spending too much energy resisting or battling opposition can sometimes heighten the threat. Instead, combat these moments with a flood of positive thought. Replace the What if this horrible thing happens with What if this amazing thing happens? Try that for a while and see if your outlook improves.
Love is far more powerful that you are by yourself. Learn to tap into the power of prayer and faith and stop relying on your own muscles to hold this door shut.
Deep breath. Balance. Center. Clear mind. Peaceful heart. Trust that Love is in control of everything and faith can move mountains.