Until yesterday morning I couldn’t stand that expression – or idiom, or whatever it is.
I’ve expressed my dislike for those words in conversation, in sermons, even in a book I wrote a few years ago about vocation.
I don’t think the thought is biblical, though lots of people have searched scripture to find words that sort of, maybe, if you stretch the meaning a bit, might possibly say the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong. I have always loved people who live their lives that way, who just know that when disappointment happens, something else – and maybe something even better – will come along.
Doesn’t everyone remember Maria in The Sound of Music saying, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window”?
It sure beats my usual outlook on life.
For me, sorry to say, when one door closes, I expect about three more to slam shut at about the same time. (It’s true, sadly, that I’ve never been as cheery as Maria.)
So, yesterday, I’m pretty sure my outlook changed.
After teaching my Sunday morning adult education class in the Kantonsschule Stadelhofen, a nearby public school where my church holds most of its classes, I ran ahead of the class to get to my office, which is in a different building.
After all, I was late, and I had to get back to put on my Geneva gown and go over last-minute worship-planning details with the other worship leaders before heading over to the church, which is in still another building.
Never having been in the Kantonsschule before, I ran out the nearest door – and suddenly realized that I had no idea where I was. I turned to go back into the school, but found that the door had locked behind me. I pounded on the door for a few seconds, for what seemed like an eternity, but no one was around.
As I found out later, no one who wanted to go to church would have even considered going out that door.
So, trying not to panic, I wandered around outside looking for a way around the school building. I could see the train station in the distance, so I knew where I was – approximately. I just couldn’t get to where I needed to be.
I glanced at my watch and realized I was in trouble. Worship was starting in a few minutes, and I was standing outside the locked door of an unfamiliar building.
At that exact moment I saw a light in one of the classrooms and ran over. I saw someone inside. It was Maria. Not Julie Andrews, but the wife of my associate pastor who was straightening up after teaching her high school class. She opened the window, and I climbed in.
Normally when men my age climb in the window of a school after hours, an arrest will occur soon after. But Maria pointed me in the direction of the building where my office is, and I took off at my 5000-meter pace.
If I seemed slightly sweaty and out-of-breath yesterday as I gave the Call to Worship, it was because I had just learned a little life lesson about closed doors and opened windows.
When a door closes, a window just might open up. That’s my experience.