The Accidental Philosopher: Of Closed Doors and French Windows
For the longest time, I took Ally Mcbeal very seriously. I was just as obsessive as she was and almost as neurotic. But the nineties have been over for a long time and being so self-obsessed isn't fashionable anymore.brunch Updated: Jul 03, 2012 13:50 IST
'Ally, what makes your problems bigger than everybody else's?'
'They are mine.' - Ally Mcbeal
For the longest time, I took Ally Mcbeal very seriously. I was just as obsessive as she was and almost as neurotic. But the nineties have been over for a long time and being so self-obsessed isn't fashionable anymore. So I prefer not to complain. Also, while complaining might win me friends (because people tend to like you more when your life isn't exactly perfect), it also amplifies the problem to three times its actual size.
I've been upset about something for a while now and it's been causing so much drama in my head - to the point that I wake up every morning feeling like a hot air balloon is taking off in my chest. It's the kind of heaviness that you only experience when you break up with someone after many, many years. Except, I don't even have that to show for it. So while I've been fully participating in these weird emotional gymnastics, I've also been stepping aside every now and then to observe myself and you know, formulate a theory about this.
And here's what I think - Whoever said that thing about God closing a door and opening a window, forgot to mention how much time it takes between the door closing and the window opening. I mean, I may not have lived too long but I've had a whole lot of doors closed on my face and I can tell you for a fact that the first thing that happens when God closes a door is it gets really dark. And it stays that way for a while.
How do you manage the time between the door closing and the window opening? That period when you feel like you don't know where you're headed and have no idea where you are.
This is when, I've noticed, everyone has a nugget of wisdom to offer.
'Dance it away' a girlfriend might suggest. I don't get it - for all the dancing that goes on over the weekends, I don't see people any less grumpy on Monday mornings. Also, why would you want to wake up with an aching heart and aching feet?
Retail therapy, meaningless sex, cupcakes, chick-lit, alcohol, sitcoms and pedicures are all popular solutions as well but having tried most of them at some point of time, I have to say, nothing works. That heavy, hot-air-balloon-taking-off feeling is still very much there in the morning.
It was in this disillusioned state (many years ago) that I got the best piece of advice from a very cynical guy - 'Oh just suck it up and deal with it.'
Ah. How about that? People are always telling you how to avoid dealing with your problems but it takes a really pissed off person to tell you the truth. Of course, he didn't realize he was offering me life-changing advice but in retrospect, I can see that he was so right.
For starters, my most incredible breakthroughs and highest highs have always been preceded by a sense of bleakness bordering on despair - a period of groping in the dark.
So now, while there is a part of me that bursts into tears without warning - overwhelmed by the massive emotional wreckage, there is another part going 'Whee! This means something awesome is about to happen!'
I'm embracing the breakdown and it's even better than sucking it up and dealing with it. I'm actually savouring it.
Because that window that God finally opens? It's a French window - with a view so spectacular, it makes you thankful that He closed the door in the first place. And that's when you realize that there is some truth in every corny bumper sticker out there.
As Dr. Mark Chironna (my favourite preacher) once put it - 'Closed doors are just as valid a sign as open doors. They tell you where you shouldn't go.'