I like getting the mail. Well usually. It was New Year's Eve so a few random Christmas cards were still arriving from those procrastinating friends (don't worry if that's you...been there, done that :) Our mailbox was a little metal black box that was placed to the right of our front door, which meant you could open the door, lean out the door in your pj's, reach into the mailbox, and grab the mail without ever being "exposed".
So this particular late afternoon I realized we had not checked the mailbox for a few days. It was sure to be an armful so rather than doing the Cirque Du Soleil acrobatics routine or launching the "go-go gadget" arm, I walked outside and shut the door behind me. We all know the latch our doors make when it shuts and then we all know there's a different sound when it latches AND locks. Well my door made the second sound. It locked. Shoot. I was sure it was unlocked. I quickly realized I had more immediate, greater concerns, like the fact that it was freezing outside and I was in a hoodie, daisy dukes (you know the ones you ONLY wear around the house) and my infamous pink slippers. I used to be an over reactor, a flipper outer, a quick crier...but I've learned a thing or two and so I chose to stay calm because surely the back door was open. Negative. Locked. Ok, what about a window, it wouldn't be the first time I hoisted myself up on the window ledge only to quickly shimmy through trying to avoid drawing attention to the homeowner breaking into her own home. But every single window I could reach was locked. My cell phone was just inches away, but on the other side of the locked door and I really didn't want to bother any of my neighbors, who were all over 60, in my daisy dukes.
|The originator of the Daisy Dukes...hahaha :)|
Reagan and my nephew, Shannon were out running errands and so I convinced myself that they had to be home soon. Well soon never came and so in desperation I decided humiliation would be better than amputation from frost bite and I knocked on my neighbor's door. They weren't home. New Year's Eve is not the best time to lock yourself out. The only thing that was open was the garage door, and with the wind picking up I could at least avoid some of the elements by sitting inside the unheated garage. I started rummaging through boxes that had been "cluttering" up the space looking for a coat, a sweatshirt, a hat...anything to add another layer. And there it was...Reagan's old Kappa soccer coat. I made a mental note to NEVER get on his case about leaving "stuff" in the garage...this was God send. I put on the coat, pulled up the hood, zipped it, scrunched my legs up under it, pulled my arms out of the sleeves and literally plopped myself down onto a cardboard box, which was better than my bum adhering to the concrete floor. There were 2 small windows in the garage and with each minute the sun slipped down saying good-bye to the daylight and allowing the darkness to set in. Minutes went by, hours went by. I listened intently for the engine of the car and the bright beam of the its headlights to pull in the driveway. It seemed like forever. We had a party to go to in a few hours so...I tried to think about that for awhile. I tried to think about what I would say to Reagan even though this wasn't his fault. I tried to think about anything other than how stupid I felt and how cold I was.
Well forever finally ended when I heard the car doors slam. They were home. I was going to be rescued before turning into a human popsicle. I pulled myself out of the fetal position and lifted the garage door, needless to say they were a little surprised to see me. The minute I saw their faces I started to cry. You know that overwhelming feeling of anger, stupidity, yet happiness all rolled up into one big erupting emotion...that's what I was experiencing. After explaining what happened and realizing I only had about an hour until we had to leave, I stood in the scalding hot shower for 45 minutes...defrosting.
As I stood in the shower, the hot water pelting down my face I realized I had learned a few valuable lessons that night...
1. Don't ever wear daisy dukes...hahaha!
2. You're going to do stupid things, learn to laugh at yourself.
3. Locking your doors may keep intruders out...but it may keep you out too :)
Ok...that kind of oversimplifies things...
The real, more powerful thought I had was about locking the doors of our lives. We've all done it, right? We've locked at least one or maybe multiple doors of our lives to our friends, family and maybe even God. Locking yourself out of the those relationships will only leave you cold, tucked up in frustration and totally "sitting in the dark". Sometimes we don't mean to do it, just like I never intended to lock myself outside in the arctic temperatures that night. But God is always there...even when we think we've locked Him out. You can't run from Him, you can't hide from Him, you can't keep Him out, nor would you want to. He will never disappoint. He loves you unconditionally and His love is a constant warm, safe place to live. I've found His love to "dethaw" me...from any "cold" thing that has ever tried to consume me.
As far as people go...I've locked people out before to avoid disappointment, or in attempt to keep my distance so there's no chance for rejection...because people will fail us from time to time, they will let us down, but there is no reward in locking people out. I come in contact with a lot of people through the business that I run and someone once asked me, "What's the hardest part of doing what you do?" Without hesitation I responded by telling them that the most frustrating thing is also the most rewarding thing and that's...the people. Frustrating at times or not, people and relationships are truly a great reward in our lives if we see them that way. It takes courage to see the best in people, see all their potential and maybe even believe in them more than they believe in themselves...because in turn they don't always do all that you know they could, but that should never keep us from believing in them and the things they do choose to do or keep us from believing in the next person that crosses our path. It's worth sticking out your hand one more time, trusting one more time, loving one more time, and taking the chance of making a new best friend one more time...you know the person that will tell you that your lips are still blue :)
Later that night after finally arriving at the party, I still wasn't quite my usual chipper self. My core temperature was still too low. No matter how many wool sweaters I piled on, nothing was heating my bones. I mingled and tried not to say much in fear my teeth would chatter...but my lips wouldn't lie. They were bright blue, even hours after being rescued from the igloo...I mean garage. One of my best friends, Tara, sweetly brought this to my attention. "Carey your lips are bright blue...are you ok?" For the first time all day I started to laugh and before long I was hysterically reenacting the entire experience.
So take it from me, don't lock yourself out of your own home, or any home for that matter in the middle of winter...hahaha...and don't lock yourself or your heart away either. Most important keep the door of your heart open to your Father in heaven and to all those that will come knocking throughout your lifetime. Just remember...no locking...just lots of LOVING.
When I walk in LOVE God is present.
1 John 4:12