“When one door closes, another door opens…”

“When one door closes, another opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Alexander Graham Bell

When I thought of using the above quote for my post today, I looked for it on the internet and discovered its author was Alexander Graham Bell. It seemed he had many personal setbacks in his life, but persevered nonetheless. His invention of the telephone surely opened a door that no one could have foreseen would lead to such innovations as Skype and tweeting…innovations that would forever change our lives.

This has been a year of doors opening and closing for me. I retired from my teaching position last June, saying goodbye to a career in education that I had longed for much of my life and finally achieved. I was not regretful, however. After two years of being subjected to the rigors of teaching English Language Learners under the yoke of the Common Core, I knew it was time for me to leave. It meant saying goodbye to a school building full of colleagues and the world of children I had been immersed in for twenty-two years. But I had no regrets. I had given my students 110% of myself each and every day and had run out of steam. I did not want to be the cranky old teacher in the building who refused to retire. It was time to move on and I looked forward to the new adventures that lay before me.

But then a door opened that I hadn’t foreseen. Within weeks of retirement I was diagnosed with a late-stage cancer the treatment of which affected my entire life. I was confined to my house and had neither the desire nor the wherewithal to make new friends and have new adventures. I was too busy fighting for my life. The seven months that followed my diagnosis gave me a lot of time to think about my life. To my amazement I had few regrets. I have had a challenging life with not much support until I had my own family, but I knew I had done my best and that was the best I could do. Still, I wasn’t ready to close the door on my life; I felt there was more I wanted to do but my fate was not mine to decide.

On January 28, 2016 that door closed and another opened. My doctor called to tell me I am “cancer free.” I couldn’t understand why I felt so numb. I thought I should be doing cartwheels, but instead I was unable to feel anything. This numbness persisted and I attributed it to Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. I thought I was still processing what had happened to me and had been in a self-protective cocoon state from which I could not easily disengage.

But then…another door opened. A friend I had made through the Long Island Writing Project, who had responded to my blogs for that site, encouraged me to join the Slice of Life challenge. She said it was fun and the best part would be the responses I would receive daily from fellow bloggers. And so, although I wasn’t sure I was ready for any challenge, I took the plunge.

My family now laughs when they see me vigorously typing on my iPad every day. They know all about the SOL and have read many of my blogs. My daughter has been delighted to see happiness return to my face and my husband has been an endless source of patience with technological challenges. For the first time since my cancer diagnosis I am again experiencing joy in my life. Recent comments from fellow bloggers have encouraged me to continue with the Tuesday SOL which I will most certainly do. I feel like I have experienced just the tip of the iceberg…there is so much more to experience and explore in this community of writers.

Each and every day of this month-long challenge has brought me closer to going through the door that was opened for me by my blogging friend (Thank you, Kathleen). I now see endless doors opening and I am looking forward to experiencing each new day instead of just going through the motions of living. So, thank you all for your support and encouragement. I have wished I could read every blog every day and respond to them all. But I did the best I could for my first time around, and have no regrets. It’s all good!

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22 thoughts on ““When one door closes, another door opens…””

  1. What a wonderful post for me to go to bed with. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. We are a wonderful group and I hope you continue to share your posts on Tuesdays. Congratulations on being cancer free. I wish you many open doors as you continue on this magical journey!

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  2. Wow, what a year of change for you! Kudos to you for taking on new challenges at a time when you would be within your rights to take it a bit easier. Sometimes the right thing comes along at the right time- this community has been that thing for me too.

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  3. What a joyful read for me. I, too, have felt like the curtains have been drawn and the windows thrown wide open! I look forward to every day. I watch my phone for email showing I have another comment. I’m so happy to find your blog. It gave me great perspective this morning while I drink my tea and look at the endless snow outside. I know that soon enough the door will close on winter and I will see grass and birds as a new door opens.

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  4. I am so thrilled to know that this SOL community has been so valuable for you in such a dark time in your life. I am going through a time of upheaval and shadows myself, for different reasons, and doing this challenge has definitely helped me in too many ways to even know at this point. I hope you do keep the Tuesday SOL as a part of your routine and continue to seek experiences instead of going through the motions–I’ll be reading along to see what else you discover!

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  5. I never knew it was Bell who created the quote, that is an interesting bit of knowledge to store away, thank you. You have traveled through many doors in this journey of career, illness, and discovery. I feel as though there many more that will open for you as you discover new passions. Living with no regrets is the best, may you continue to live that life.

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  6. Our approach to doors matters too. Sometimes there are lots of doors opening and we have to make a choice. Sometimes there are doors closing and we are too busy to notice. In some cases, like yours, we get shoved through a door regardless.
    Eventually, as you have noted, we must learn to not regret doors which have closed, accept what’s behind those doors we have chosen, and deal with what is there when we get pushed.. You have done this remarkably well, and your sharing has helped me think more deeply on such issues.

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  7. What a beautiful perspective you have on the changes and challenges of your life. I love the way you’re doing this, your attitude and that you’ve shared it here.

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  8. Barbara, so happy to be friends and so glad we embarked on “Slice of Life” together. I had never really blogged before this but here we found the type of community I was really hoping to grow with our LIWP site….a place to share the teaching and life journey. Your piece is perfect- doors opening and closing and opening again and it makes me so glad that this challenge has restored your balance and brought you joy. The comments here show how you have impacted this writing community and how many are touched by your story. I’ve viewed the LIWP site as a bit of a flop, but in a way it opened up the door to our friendship which opened up the door to both of us finding and sharing our voice in a new, wider community of friends. Looking forward to reading more slices from you each Tuesday…

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  9. Such a fantastic post to read… I love the sense of introspection and optimism that I’m left with. Kudos to you for handling these changes with such grace and strength and for being willing to take on the SOL challenge. It’s wonderful that writing has brought such a positive change to your life. Here’s to more doors yet to open – for all of us!

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