I’ve heard it said that when God closes one door, He opens another.
Or He opens a window…
Or it wasn’t your door…
Or any number of other things.
I’ve said this before (usually after the other door or window becomes apparent). In fact, I said it to someone yesterday.
However, after I said it, and thought about it for a while, I realized there is a fundamental problem with the saying. It assumes God is responsible for the closed door. And even though I have a deep faith, I don’t believe that.
Regardless of one’s faith, or lack thereof, I think most people believe humans have free will. We all make our own choices every day. Over a lifetime we make millions of them. It is our choices combined with those of others in our lives, that close and open doors. Note, this isn’t saying we are completely responsible for all situations in which we find ourselves. In fact we could have made a series of perfect decisions–things that we don’t regret and wouldn’t change, but we are still unable to control the response of others.
I like the following similar quote, attributed to Alexander Graham Bell, a bit more.
“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.”
This still acknowledges that we have choices. We can lament what is gone, or look for the opportunities that may arise because of the closed door. That doesn’t mean that the closed door is any less painful–or for that matter, fair. But each of us must decide what we do with it.
Occasionally, after we go through the new door, we realize that the old door shutting was an incredible blessing.