2018 has been a defining year in my life and now, as it comes to a close, I find myself reflecting not only on the year just gone, but on all the years that came and went before it.

I find myself thinking about doors, of the metaphorical variety. The doors that were closed to me and the doors that were opened.

With any door there is an inevitable element of the unknown: one might imagine what lies behind, but until the threshold is crossed, there is no knowing what might be found. Life is like that, for sure. Occasionally disappointing: sometimes, heartrendingly so. Always surprising: often, delightfully so.

I’ve had a lot of doors opened for me over the years and I am full of gratitude for all of them. Many seemed small and unremarkable at the time but were really, with hindsight, beautifully momentous. There were all kinds of opportunities to learn, grow, live. Doors to better understanding, greater faith, new experiences.

I’m grateful for the doors that were closed too, even the painful ones, because it turned out they set me on other paths into other doorways where I learnt the secrets of compassion, hope and gratitude. Things that can only be learnt in the hard places.

And I’m grateful for the Door Openers. The people who, through acts of kindness, encouragement or thoughtfulness opened doors of all kinds for me. I have known tens, perhaps hundreds of them in my thirty one years.  From family members and friends, to teachers and youth workers, to employers and colleagues, the Door Openers are people who have offered me chances to do my thing and grow into my story: to travel, to be a friend, to learn, to achieve, to meet my husband, to try my hand at writing, to empathise, to take on a job… Really, the examples are endless.

I guess every day has its small doors to push and step into. Every conversation, every choice: these are all opportunities of sorts. And then there are the ‘special’ doors, the chances that come every so often to step closer to our dreams and into bigger changes.

As we enter 2019, I’m praying that we all have the courage and faith to step through the doors that are open, the patience and endurance to bear the doors that are closed and the kindness and imagination to be Door Openers in other people’s lives.

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