“When God closes a door, He opens a window” is just the type of cliché I despise, especially while I’m sitting in prison. Clichés look good on greeting cards and needlepoint pillows.
Of course, we all use clichés, and as much as it pains me to admit it, I am as bad in peddling them as truth as the next person. Usually we pull them out of our bag of comforting tricks to put a positive spin on a not so positive situation. Well, being in prison definitely qualifies as a “not so positive situation.”
I arrived at Oakdale as Tony Casson, the originator of this website, was due to be released. Unknown to me, I had been a topic of this website before my arrival at Oakdale. A caring friend had discovered this blog and wrote to Tony asking to look out for her friend George, me, who would be arriving soon. As fate would have it, or as I believe God would have it, I ended up being assigned to the same housing unit as Tony. No small feat of coincidence on a compound of over 1,600 inmates between eight housing units.
Imagine my surprise, though I’m sure my expression was one more of shock, when a complete stranger approached me and said, “Oh, you’re George. I know your friend Judy back home.” How could anyone here know me, let alone one of my friends from back home? Over the next several days, Tony became an invaluable resource of how to navigate daily prison life. By the time Tony left, we had developed a friendship. One that now places upon me the honor of contributing to and continuing this blog.
You may think that the opening cliché seems quite applicable to the passing on of this blog from Tony to me. “When God closes a door,” – Tony leaving Oakdale to rebuild his life in D.C. – “He opens a window.” – I arrived at Oakdale to pick up the Oakdale Chronicles pen and soldier on. How could I despise the “truth” in that?
In my heart I don’t. But I also think God is doing something more miraculous than simply “opening a window.” As a convicted felon, the idea that God is making me crawl through a window of opportunity conjures up an image of creeping in to thieve and do no good. There is dignity in walking through a door, and though I am in no way proud of my actions that brought me to Oakdale, I know I’m not here to creep and crawl forward through life.
I am here to stand up, accept responsibility for my actions, do my time in the faith and knowledge that God has a positive purpose to this part of my life’s journey, and by sharing this journey with you, hopefully give you a glimpse into how the power of prayer and the pursuit of His truth can change a life – not only mine, but quite possibly yours too!
So, as we all face adversity and discouragement, I offer this illumination of the cliché. “When God opened the door for Tony to go forth and do good work, He closed it behind me coming in; but He also opened a window for me to breathe fresh air and to see the sun until the time comes for a door to open for me.
When you feel closed off by life, look for the air and the light that will sustain you until a door opens again. There is always another, more dignified door in God’s house to walk through. Let the light show you that door.
“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door, if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’” – John 10:7-10 RSV