This morning, I walked into my senior English class just as the bell was ringing. The girls were already there, some with their heads in their hands. The room felt heavy with the weight of something. At first, I couldn’t tell what it was and I just searched the faces of the teenage girls who already had their books open waiting for me to start talking. I started to teach but stopped and asked them if they were all okay.
Like a faucet turned on quickly, emotions gushed out like water all over the desks. “I was wait listed at five schools,” one student told me. “I got into a great school but I can’t figure out why I was turned down from my top choice,” said another. And then, “This is all so overwhelming. How do I know which step to take?”
I paused and at first, I simply said that I was sorry. I told them that this is hard now but I believed in them and everything would be fine in the end. I tried to convey, briefly, that life will take them where it should. And my plan was to move on to our novel.
They just smiled and looked at me, but I could see they felt like I couldn’t understand. But I really do understand this and I know the struggle all too well.
And so I said this:
Listen, some doors are closed now. But you have open doors. And maybe the doors that are closed are only closed so you’re not confused about which door you’re supposed to walk through. Think about it: all of those open doors would maybe confuse you. So life has made it easier for you: walk though what is open. Doors close for a reason and sometimes, it’s for other doors to open later on.
And you know what? The advice I gave them is the advice I need. The advice I gave them is the advice I hope to teach and model for my own small children. Doors close and if we stare at them too long, we might not see that another one has opened.
Here’s to the making way for doors to open. You, me, my students, all the children, everyone. Look for the open doors.
Thanks for Mothering the Divide with me. Maybe together we can learn not to stare at closed doors for too long. Instead, let’s look for the ones that are open. Take my hand and let’s walk through.
(These are doors in Dublin, Ireland, a place I truly adore.)