The Gateway to a New World

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Troubled times of crisis bring changes that can affect us mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually—changes that can jostle us out of our comfort zones.  Yesterday a friend reminded me about a life-altering dream that I wrote about years ago and I think that it might be an appropriate time to share it again.  Fair warning though . . . it is about 400 words longer than my usual blog size.  And it begins . . .

Today I am reminded of a dream that I had many years ago, a dream so powerful that it provided me with the courage and energy that I needed in order to make a gigantic leap from one chapter of my life into the next. I feel moved to tell this story today in honor of those who are struggling with life circumstances that they wish to change, and who may benefit by being reminded that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In my dream, I am walking toward a bridge, and want to cross, but there is a closed gate. I use this as an excuse to tell myself that I cannot cross because the gate is locked and is blocking my way. Instinctively I know that this bridge will take me to my future, but I am afraid to leave my past and move on. I am afraid of what I might find, that my future may be worse than my past.

Feeling a great sense of relief, I turn to walk away.  As I do, I hear a voice that says, “Oh, but it is not locked. All you need to do is open the gate and walk through.” My excuse has vanished and fear clutches my heart. I do not want to go. I do not want to risk what I might find on the other side of the gate, on the other end of the bridge.

I am at a painful transition point in my life, in the midst of wondering how I will ever manage to find the courage I need to leave my husband of many years, and move from the West Coast back to the comfort of my roots in the east. I want to leave, but I can’t. I’m stuck. I lack the courage to move on with my life. I’m in the sunset years of middle age without the resources to sustain myself for tomorrow and forever. It is a frightening scenario. I am paralyzed with fear.

The persistent voice urges me to open the gate and step onto the bridge. With trembling hand, I lift the latch and walk through the opening. The gate closes behind me, and I look ahead at the vast expanse of space that separates me from the certain present to the uncertain future. I want to turn back but somehow, it no longer seems to be an option.

With great reluctance, I swallow my fear and put one foot ahead of the other as I start my journey across the bridge to greet my future. At the halfway point, I stop and realize again that I am again paralyzed by fear, unable to move one way or the other. I imagine myself living the rest of my life firmly rooted in the middle of that bridge, somewhere between the worlds of the past and the future.

Mentally, I review my options. The gate has closed behind me and I am not ready to face what awaits me. I can stand stuck on the bridge forever with one foot in the past and the other in the future. Or I can jump.

No, tempting though it is, jumping is not an option. It is not a viable means of escape. I turn toward the closed gate and much to my surprise, it is now open. Behind it stand a group of my friends, all smiling and waving to me, as if to wish me well and send me off with Godspeed and good wishes. I feel a lump in my throat as I realize that I must once and for all say goodbye to a piece of my past that had served as my painful comfort zone for so many years.

I turn toward the future at the other end of the bridge, and there is no gate. Another group of my dear friends await me, beckoning to me, encouraging me, anxious to welcome me home with open arms. With a mixture of sadness and joy, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I place one foot in front of the other and move forward into my future.

I reach the end of the bridge, the beginning of my new present, and joy begins to slowly seep through the sadness to fill the hole in my heart that was left behind in the past.

Today I look back with gratitude because my painful past is behind me, and I have moved on into an optimistic and brighter future, one that had been hidden from me behind a door that I did not want to open.

Crossing takes courage, commitment, and profound willingness. It isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. All of the goodness and sweetness in life thrives in the happy atmosphere of a satisfied self. It is always waiting to be claimed, right there in front of eyes willing to see.

I guess that sometimes we just have to be willing to go through the brambles in order to enjoy the sweet nectar of life.  And so to all those who struggle, to all those who wish to open the gate and cross the bridge, Godspeed and good wishes. Amazing gifts await you on the other side. Focus fiercely on the light at the end of the tunnel, and joy will be the ultimate reward.

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