Maybe you’ve heard that adage, “Whenever God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.” In the movie, The Sound of Music, the Reverend Mother said it to the young postulant Maria when she found herself in love with Captain von Trapp. It turns out the quote was actually from the real Maria von Trapp in her autobiography, which inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein to write the musical. There’s also a similar phrase often quoted from Helen Keller, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Or how about this one: Every cloud has a silver lining. Something good will come out of something bad. It is always possible to get something positive out of a situation, no matter how unpleasant, difficult or even painful it might seem.
All our married life, Carl and I have experienced new opportunities when doors have been closed. You might remember my telling you that one week before our wedding, he was fired from his day job, and of course, he didn’t tell my parents when he met them for the first time the day before the wedding! But we had a glorious six weeks of getting to know one another and living off our savings before he was hired as the controller of the House of Music, the ideal job for someone with double degrees in accounting and music.
Then when Carl’s mother was dying of cancer, she had the knowledge that I had become pregnant with our first child. When she died on Ash Wednesday of 1981, and we heard those ancient words, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return,” I was thinking of the “dust” in my belly and how that would become new life. Sadly, our first child died two hours after birth, and people tried to comfort us by saying that our baby was with its grandmother in heaven.
But a year and a half later we had our baby Stephen, who has brought us joy beyond words and many adventures. And just yesterday he announced his engagement to Jessica Palomar! And so the circle of life continues — a bright light amid the clouds of Carl’s illness and home hospice care. It was in February that when Carl told Stephen about his pancreatic cancer, he said: “I always thought I would have a few years to take care of your mom. Now you’re going to have to step up to the plate, and look after her. And while you’re at it, you need to think about making a home and family for yourself!” Well, Stephen took this message to heart, and after a whirlwind romance with Jessica, has decided he wants to spend his life with her.
“Whenever God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”