I recently read a book on Finding Vocation written by a Quaker named Parker Palmer. Some of what he writes about describes my current struggle exactly. He talks about a time in his life when he felt lost and frustrated. He thought he should have been more successful by then (he was in his mid-thirties). When he went to the elders of the church to ask why doors hadn’t opened for him yet and how to find his path, one of the women responded, “Sometimes the way forward is learned by doors closing behind you rather than by doors opening in front of you.” When I read that, I started to cry. That single sentence crystallized the facts of my own path: Music Business doors I’ve half-heartedly banged on for thirty-five years have never really opened up for me. The sporadic openings that have occurred have been tantalizing enough to keep me knocking, but they’ve never swung wide open. Maybe that’s because I haven’t worked hard enough, maybe it’s because I didn’t want it badly enough, but it’s still true. My question is how do I know if doors not opening means to give up, or, if it means to try a new angle?
And, how do I know if anything I might still write or sing has any meaning or relevance to anyone else anyway?
This morning, I talked to my husband about all of this and he said, “I think a lot of us feel that way.” Like me, sometimes he wonders if anything he has to say, or anything he might still do, has any meaning or purpose. Knowing he struggles too made me feel better. I wasn’t alone. His empathy made me want to write, which is why I’m here typing away trying to make sense of my thoughts and sharing them with you. Thinking about all those doors that have closed behind me, I realize that what’s left are all the other doors I might open if I turn around and look.