Hospitals make me nervous. Not only do I feel at a loss for the right words to say to a hospital patient, but I also can't help but recall memories of some bad times spent in hospitals when I visit there. That's not to say that I've had unpleasant experiences due to negligence or bad treatment, mind you. I have bad memories because, other than the two times I gave birth in a hospital, the events that precipitated me or a loved one checking into hospitals have been scary, painful, and plain out miserable.
I'm assuming that's the case for most people.
But here's another reason I don't especially care for visiting folks in hospitals. Ready for it?
The doors. The doors make me nervous.
Here's the thing. I'm a rule follower. When I read a sign that says "Do Not Enter," I don't enter. And if you force me to enter, I feel as though I've broken a law and someone will surely come looking for me.
It seems to me that hospitals have a problem with their doors. Have you noticed this?
All sorts of doors in hospitals have signs on them that say, "Authorized Personnel Only" or "Do Not Enter" or "Stop!"
And yet, when you visit a patient and you ask the concierge at the information desk about how to get to the patient, the gray haired lady in the little pink jacket inevitably instructs you to take a route that leads through numerous such forbidden passageways.
I don't get it.
The signs say "Stay Out" but the sweet little lady at the desk tells me to walk right on through like it's nobodys business, without a care in the world, much less a hospital i.d. or special clearance.
And even if the doors in a hospital, where I'm pretty sure a lot of people are doing things like testing blood and performing brain surgery and resetting bones, do not bear forboding signs, they often are shut. Closed. Not open.
And when I'm in a place where I don't work and other people do, I feel like I'm not supposed to be opening doors all willy nilly like. Does anyone else feel this way? Shoot. I wasn't allowed to open closed doors in my own home when I was growing up, or in school, or in the Piggly Wiggly, or at the bank, or in someone else's home. What is supposed to make me think it's ok to open closed doors in a place where the employees have eight years of post graduate education and they're cutting people open?
Still, the silver headed lady in the pink jacket tells me to open multiple closed doors on my way to see my friend in Building 3, 2nd Floor, Corridor B, Room 202. This just shouldn't be.
Hospital doors are not the only ones that confuse me. Sometimes the doors of opportunity stop me in my tracks, too.
I prefer for the Lord to swing wide open the doors He wants me to go through. But experience has taught me that sometimes He beckons me to knock upon or even turn the knobs on doors which, at first glance, appear to be closed shut. This makes me equally nervous.
And don't be fooled. It's not my commitment to always following the Lord's leadership that causes me to hesitate when doors are closed and require at least a gentle push. No, it's nothing so noble as obedience or commitment or servanthood.
It's plain ole fear. As in I'm afeared that bells and whistles will sound and I'll look like a fool.
Even in the corridors of opportunity and dreams and pursuits, doors scare me. I don't want to get it wrong and accidentally open the wrong door. I don't want someone to scold me for turning a knob that's off limits. I don't want to venture down a hallway on which I'm forbidden. And I certainly don't want some kind of alarm to go off, alerting everyone around to my mistake. Heaven help! I'm just a scaredy cat!
So what's a gal to do when the door is shut and yet she feels for certain she hears the welcoming, kind voice of her Savior on the other side of that door beckoning her to come on through? What do you do when the new venture, the step of faith, the act of obedience requires you to do more than just walk through a wide open door? Yes, I wish life was just a series of doors blown off their hinges by the mighty breath of God as He bellows "Come!" But my life hasn't been like that at all. My God hasn't worked that way.
He beckons. He calls. He invites. He even encourages.
But so often I have to step up to the unopened door, knock, listen for His assuring voice, reach out my uncertain hand to the door knob...turn it...and open the door.
New adventures, callings, invitations. They require courage. They require initiative. They require faith.
And I can rest assured that my God will never sound the alarm and shame me if I open a wrong door or even push too hard in an effort to get in where I don't belong. He's too gracious and kind for that. He's not playing games with me...or you. Maybe He's just been working behind that closed door, and now He's inviting me in...to see what He's been up to!
I feel I've rambled a bit today. Maybe you think I do that every time I post, but I try not to. Still, I felt that today someone out there needed to know that it's ok to open the door in front of them. Or at least knock. Really, it's ok.