Passing through


Today I no longer want to think about openings, or closings, or doorways. It seems that my mind occupies itself with matters of passages recently and it’s tough for me to get the concept out of my head. Passageways are scary places: leaving your comfort, and embarking into the unknown.

Later today, Bethany will remain open. Or it will close.  Either way, there will be a gateway to pass through: a future.  Hey, folks. Future is good. Bethany or no Bethany, God is in control. God is good. The future is bright.

There is nothing more dangerous than stumbling into inaction out of fear.  I’m not even talking about venturing and gaining. Just the mere act of stepping through a doorway is usually enough.

Doorways. They require action, and may cause pain. They may be worth it. They are scary.

"Pull." A famous cartoon by The Far Side creator, Gary Larson.
  • When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.
  • When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.–Helen Keller
  • A small key opens big doors.–Turkish proverb
  • A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.–Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • If God shuts one door, He opens another–Irish Proverb
  • We often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.–Alexander Graham Bell
  • If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
  • Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
  • The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.–Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Okay. Enough “entryway” quotes for now. We all get the idea.  Where one thing closes, another opens.  A few deservedly-famous people (as you can see) have meditated on the idea of openings, and closings, and moving through, and perseverance. So, just to annoy everyone, I will tell a quick story.

When I was a sophomore at Bethany Bible College, I was going through a miserable time in my life. I went to Kathy Wilson, a music professor at BBC, when I was at my lowest point. I was contemplating suicide. I saw no way out. No direction. I felt I had failed the Lord, or that the Lord had failed me.  I told Kathy and told her I could find nowhere to go from here. I was lost. There were so many gates, and every one of them could cause pain in my future. (I laugh at this now. I was nineteen years old: what did I know about pain then?)  Kathy listened as I rambled on, and firmly said, “Doors are a blessing.  God put them there. You have lots of doors in your future. It’s your job to step through the door.  God will be sure it is closed if you’re not meant to walk through it.”

I couldn’t really list this on my quotes, but Kathy’s thoughts, on that rainy November in 1988, had the most profound effect of any words ever spoken to me with the possible exception of Romans 8:28. She saved my life that day, when she helped me realize that doorways are nothing to fear.

Things have a way of working themselves out.  The world didn’t end when Bill Clinton was elected in 1991, despite what I heard throughout the student body.  Nothing fell to pieces last week when Congress wrangled over the new federal budget. When I become overwhelmed, and maybe this is something of a defense for me, I consider the sparrow. Apart from being nasty little buggers that poop all over the place, they’re amazing creatures.

How much more does the Lord care for you? It’ll be all right. I promise.

Just passing through.

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2 thoughts on “Passing through”

  1. One of my favorite passageway quotes…

    “When it comes to huge openings, a lot of people think of me.”
    -Hedwig and the Angry Inch

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  2. Brian,

    Great post. In these days of contemplating Bethany’s fate, I find it interesting that no post has spoken about the unintended things that we all gained from the place. Bethany (through Kathy Wilson) literally saved your life. You gained a wife, an understanding (and subsequent confusion) about your faith, and many other things.

    When I enrolled in Bethany, I expected to get a music education degree and a deeper understanding of my faith. I received neither, due to a myriad of circumstances. What I DID receive is much better. I gained a spouse, an appreciation for other faiths/denominations, an understanding that religion and business don’t mix all that well, and a voice.

    Bethany changed my life, but not in the ways I expected. I went to Bethany expecting some doors to open and others to close. The doors that I though would stay open, closed on me. The ones that I expected to open because of my time there never did, and doors that I never new existed and I was forced to walk through these.

    Perhaps this is what people talk about when they say that their time at Bethany was a good one or not. Let’s face it, the education is not the highest caliber (nor is it the lowest, it seemed to depend on the instructor you got…), but what people seem to go on and on about are the things that happened outside of class. Those unexpected passages that happen at this university (college/institute) and that can’t be quantified, they can’t be put on a marketing brochure, and they certainly can’t be converted into a dollar amount.

    I will be saddened if Bethany closes. It’s another door that closes in my life. I am sure that God will continue in his work of effecting change in people’s lives through opening and closing unexpected doorways. It will sadden me that I have one less connection to what God is doing. But you spoke truly…”Things have a way of working themselves out”

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