“The opportunity that is concealed within every crisis does not manifest until all facts of any given situation are acknowledged and fully accepted. As long as you deny them, as long as you try to escape from them or wish that things were different, the window of opportunity does not open up, and you remain trapped inside that situation, which will remain the same or deteriorate further.”
The first lesson every flower must learn, as soon as it blooms, is how to be more open.
“What if there is no such thing as an obstacle?”
I am standing on a bridge over a small canal. And this is what I’m thinking:
“What if there is not such thing as an obstacle?”
I’m at a park.
This is the park where I trained for my 5K, where I saw that father playing catch with his son (that boy who I was so jealous of once because he loved to run and I didn’t understand why). This is the park where I ran into that elderly couple who were so joyful and so present that they relieved me of all of my stress in one split second—and all they had to do was say “Hi.”
But today, neither the father and his son, nor the elderly couple, can be seen.
The park is mostly empty today.
It is a beautiful park. It is longer than it is wide. It feels private though it is lined on both sides by two-story houses. These houses appear to have their own little farms in their backyards. Through the backyard fences you can see llamas and horses and chickens and dogs. You can hear chickens clucking and lambs groaning.
The park is uneven, and hilly, and a cement pathway wraps around the entire park, forming a grand circle. I was walking on this very circular pathway just a moment ago. In fact, I’ve been walking on this circular pathway for the past three years. (I started to visit this park about the same time I started to seriously write my novel.)
A stream trickles down a canal that runs through the middle of the park. Several wooden bridges intersect this canal at several points throughout the park.
The grass in this park is bright green and is always nicely cut, and the trees are very tall and very attentive to your presence. At nearly every time of the year, there is a breeze that flows through the park, like its own invisible stream, and it is cool. This breeze is so influential that even during the hot summer, when it doesn’t visit the park, its absence still makes the park appear cool. (Don’t ask me how this is possible.)
People take a lot of pictures here. There’s always a wedding party, or a young woman celebrating her quinceñera, or a couple, or a family taking their poses against the scenic backdrop. Whenever I visit, I find myself having to pause regularly to make sure I don’t end up in somebody’s shot.
There are sweethearts who have picnics with each other at this park. Once I saw a young man in a bright, button-up flannel shirt. His was hair freshly cut, and his face was fossilized into a smirk from all the smiling he had been doing. He was with a young woman who was wearing a bright, flowery dress. She looked more mature than the young man (women always tend to look more mature than the men they are with). She looked as happy as the man but her happiness had a coating of hesitancy, as if she knew something her beloved didn’t know—something she didn’t want to tell him.
There’s this group of teenagers that visit the park often. Their wardrobe tends to follow the predictable palette of prepubescent boys: blacks and browns and ugly grays. They treat the park as their own personal playground, a place to try out things that are dangerous, rebellious, and would certainly be met with disapproving eyes from their parents: “mud-sledding,” and tree climbing, and NERF-shooting. (I don’t know why, but they always appear to me as if they’re on the verge of a fist fight.)
So, as I was saying, I am standing on one of the bridges in this park—this park that I’ve just described to you in great detail for reasons that will become clear to you in the coming weeks—and, so, here I am, at this park, observing this stream.
And I am wondering:
What if there was no such thing as an obstacle?
I was wondering this because I was paying close attention to the stream and I noticed that the trash and leaves that had fallen across this stream had not stopped the stream from flowing: the stream just moved around these things and kept going, with great ease, not at all angry that so much had gotten in its way.
The stream just went on creating liquid poetry with its glittering sinews.
It was then that I learned an important lesson that would serve me well in the coming weeks and months.
I learned that there was no such thing as an obstacle: there are just events that give our life its beautiful shape.
What If There Was No Such Thing As An Obstacle?
I don’t know if I believe in angels, but if there are angels, I think that there must be two kinds: angels of expedience and angels of postponement.
Angels of Expedience part the waters of life to allow you to move forward. But Angels of Postponement erect a dam in the middle of you and your path, and they bid that you do not pass, for the time is not right or the way is not for you.
It’s like that thing they always say: “When God closes a door, He opens up a window.”
But that’s a metaphor that only makes sense to us humans.
Because having to walk through a window, and not a door, is only awkward to us because we believe that every opening in life should look like a door, and not a window.
But for God, an opening is an opening. What does it matter if the opening is located at the back of the house, and not the front? What does it matter if the opening is awkward and tight, and not as easy to move through and as wide as you’d hoped?
An opening is an opening. An opportunity is an opportunity. What does it matter how an opportunity comes to you, or when it comes to you—when the important thing is that the opportunity has finally come to you?
What does it matter if something has gotten in your way if there is still a way to be had?
How To Open Yourself Up To New Opportunities
If you feel like the door of opportunity has just been closed on you, you should not see this as an omen that spells your doom. It is just a signal—a signal that’s telling you that the window is the better way out.
You may not have wished for the window. You may think it’s awkward and doesn’t fit you. But it is an opening. It is an opportunity.
Accept this opportunity. It is a gift that has been given to you, and although it is not exactly what you had imagined, it’s exactly what life has planned for you.
And whose to say this window of whimsy doesn’t lead you, one day, through that door of opportunity you had been knocking on this whole time?
Today’s Courage Exercise
Open yourself up to new opportunities. (Especially the types of opportunities that don’t look exactly like the opportunities you had been wishing for.)
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