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Opened Doors

I love watching my two boys, who are five and three, as they run to open the door when we are entering a building. They race ahead of everyone and want to be the first one to open the door. Their smiles widen in each moment as they try to be of service. Sometimes if the door has a strong hinge, my two little young men may struggle to open the door and someone eventually will be at their side to help. But once the door is open they stand there like guardians holding open the passageway, their fullness of joy coming as each person makes entry. Often times, as long as they can see someone walking towards the door, they will stand and wait. Sometimes after a few minutes I have to gently let them know that it is okay and that they can leave their post. I love seeing that in my boys.

Several years ago as I was leaving a fast food restaurant after my lunch break, I stood to leave and as I looked to the door of the restaurant, there was a women entering who was having a difficult time walking. She had a walker that served to help stabilize her as well as to hold some medical equipment that she required. She was with one other person that appeared to be helping her. As I stood there, I realized that the aisle in the restaurant that she would need to walk down to get to the service counter was the same aisle that I needed to use to make my exit. So I stood and waited. I could have rushed down the aisle and caused her just a moment of waiting but I quickly reasoned that it would be easier for me to wait for her. So I stopped and waited. Making eye contact I smiled and nodded for her to proceed.

At the same moment that the woman smiled back to me, a man behind me rushed passed and on down the aisle. The woman was startled but again she smiled when she looked up to see me still waiting there for her to proceed. After she passed by me I made my way to the door and on back to work. However, standing at the door waiting for me was the man who had rushed passed me and who had caused the woman to wait while he left the building. He even stood there holding the door for me. I guess he was not really in such a rush after all. As I exited the building he said something to me. He said “he who hesitates is lost.”

I had never heard that phrase before and so it caught me off guard. It took me a second to realize what he was saying. He was assuming that my waiting for the woman to proceed was in some way a hesitation in my ability to make a decision. And it appeared that he was trying to teach me that my inability to make quick decisions would prevent me from getting ahead in life. I know that is what he meant because I could see it written on his face.

I am glad that I have learned to hesitate or should I say that I am glad that I have learned to use restraint. Sometimes I don’t and those moments in my life bother me but for the most part I have learned that the best decisions are made after careful observation. I have also learned that a careful observation does not always require a great amount of time but can often be made in a split second. What I have also learned is that there is enough success in life to go around. There is enough time when time is spent in focusing on others. And there is an excess of joy when joy is founded in how we treat others and the relationships we forge. I have also learned that sometimes the best action is inaction, especially when my inaction allows others to have precedence and to act and then to succeed.

When the man walked away and as I walked to my car, I thought of trying to explain myself to him but I decided to remain silent. The funny thing is though that in many ways, what the man said to me that day was exactly what I needed to hear. There were some decisions in my life that I was hesitating on because I was afraid that I did not have the talent or ability to accomplish. Why have a dream if you are never willing to work for it? After I went home that night and looked up the origins of the phrase that the man had stated, I made a resolve to quit hesitating on my dreams and the things that I wanted to accomplish with my life. You can find one of the results of my commitment to quit limiting myself because of my fears in the book I have written titled Hope of Israel: Miriam’s Journey.

Open Doors