The Door Is Unlocked…Do we dare?
I felt trapped… trapped with my family and friends in a dark, dank dungeon of some old medieval castle. There was wailing, tempers flaring, and people pushing other people as we all talked fearfully about what the future might hold. Fights broke out among us as one cast blame upon the other for our predicament. Exhausted from being in the middle of the ongoing drama, I decided to explore the cell… looking carefully at each of the bars, the stone walls beyond, the dim light that cast a yellow pall on all of our faces. I pushed gently against the cell door, and gasped… IT WASN’T LOCKED! Was it possible? Had the door been unlocked the entire time?
“We can get out! We can leave! Everyone, this door isn’t locked!” I shouted. Nobody seemed to be listening. “Please, we don’t have to be here, THE DOOR ISN’T LOCKED!” I pushed the door open to show them. “It’s a trick” they replied. “You can’t get far, it’s too dangerous to try” others answered. Time passed and nothing changed. As my beloveds continued to cry, fight, despair, sleep, have an occasional laugh, and talk endlessly about our problems, I kept looking at that door. There was a way out. For years I stood at the door of the cell, trying to convince the others, beg them, show them that we could leave. Then one day, with a heavy heart and extra dose of courage, I said “I have to go”. I was leaving with or without them, and I would leave the door open if anyone wanted to follow.
I pushed the door to the cell open wide and stepped out into an opening that led to a long, dark hallway. There were 2 guards standing against the wall at the far end of the hallway and I thought “this will surely be when I die”. With my heart in my throat, I started walking down the hallway toward the guards. It was the only way out. They were talking, and as I drew closer they looked up briefly, acknowledged me with a nod, and then continued to talk. I walked past them in amazement. They didn’t stop me. They barely even noticed that I had walked by. Why had they been there if not to stop me from leaving? I worked my way up a long circular stone stairway in the damp, cold castle. As I got to the top, two massive guards holding weapons were positioned on either side of the stair. “My beloveds were right” I thought, as I felt my face go numb and breathing stop for a moment. “This was all a cruel trick. I was allowed to come this far, to envision, yes, almost taste my freedom, just to be captured and sent back.” But something strange was happening from within. I was feeling less afraid, and in place of my fear a still small voice from within said “Keep going”. It no longer mattered what they might say or do to me now…I was going to be free. As I approached the second set of guards, they nodded, smiled, said nothing, and let me pass. I just had to keep walking. In the distance stood 2 giant wooden doors. The ray of light peeking through the crack between the doors told me that I had reached the entrance. Do I dare? Do I push these heavy doors open and face whatever lies beyond? Yes. I had to know.
I pushed the doors open with all of my might, and there it was. Before me was a huge, open field of the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen, beaming with color in the sunlight. Above me, billowy white clouds floated effortlessly in a crystalline blue sky, and in the distance giant trees swayed and danced together with their leaves shimmering like tiny diamonds in the breeze. I could breathe. Really breathe for the first time in my life. It was exquisite. I was free.
I could have left at any time. The door was never locked, and the guards never meant to harm me. It was my own fear, my imagination, the unspoken rules that we were living by, and my not wanting to leave anyone behind in their suffering that kept me in my own personal prison for so many years.
No, I was never really physically imprisoned with my family and friends, thank God. But mentally, psychologically, and emotionally I was imprisoned with false beliefs, unhealthy family agreements, hard wiring from my childhood, doubts about the possibilities, and decisions I had made long ago that held me back from exploring my full potential. It felt as if I was being held in jail.
This is the new journey I am embarking on. I am finally ready, still with my heart in my throat at times and legs trembling, to walk past the inner guards of my life and find out what is out there, what is possible, what beauty lies ahead with my hand in God’s hand and my eyes toward the future. I have to find out. Hold my hand, if you want to, and together we’ll begin our adventure and journey toward freedom. I love you!