We’ve heard the familiar saying, “When one door closes, another one opens.” Or , maybe a bit more poignantly, our favorite singing nun once said, “When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”
The original phrase feels uplifting in times of crisis. It gives us a feeling of stability when the proverbial rug is pulled out from under us. If one thing doesn’t work out, surely something equal if not better, will come around. But, is this idiom truly promoting the right attitude when we’re facing grim prospects? I think not.
First of all, what if a door doesn’t open? Assuming something better will magically appear is false hope. Passively waiting for a door to open is about as fruitful as expecting a car to take you to a destination without the key in the ignition. Or, for my yoga friends, would you expect to master handstand by simply buying a new mat? Of course, not.
Now, Maria’s adaptation is a bit more applicable and understandable. After all, she was risking her future in the church, battling a buxom blonde for the love of a debonair Captain, and sneaking a full household over the Alps out of Nazi-occupied Austria. So yea, she might have reason to accept any makeshift doorway she could find. And there’s some merit to the idea of improvisation. It may not be a door, but a window will get the job done. If your house on fire, by all means use the window if you need to, at least you’ll survive. However, if imminent death is not threatening (and for most of us, it isn’t), there’s another option.
Don’t just hope for something better. Create a doorway you actually want to walk through. Hope is only as powerful as the actions you’re willing to put toward your desired outcome. So if a door closes, and another one doesn’t open consider that an opportunity. Use your foot to break down the damn wall.