Out With the Old, In With…?

Today is obviously New Year’s Day.  This is a day that people focus on, in order to either look back on their lives, or instead, put their focus on their futures.  Generally I do a little of each annually, but don’t spend a great deal of time on either one.  I know I can’t change the past, so why dwell on it?  Transversely, I may periodically set a couple of resolutions in place for the upcoming year, but not always.

This year is not much different, to be honest.  For me, 2013 was bittersweet, to say the least.  It started out pretty rocky as we helped my grandmother celebrate her 84th birthday on the fifth day of the year, and a tad over two weeks later, the Lord called her home.  Then, ten weeks later, our family came to the heartbreaking realization that it was the appropriate time to say goodbye to our beloved Cairn terrier, Rascal, who had been with us for over twelve years.

As an emotional winter transitioned into an uneventful spring, we all dealt with our sadness in our own ways, but we didn’t allow our sorrows to derail us.  The spring was basically a time of staying the course, so to speak.  Then, as the climate continued its progression up the Fahrenheit scale, the universe seemed to be making up for earlier in the year.  Opportunities presented themselves to me, allowing me the chance to not only continue working with at-risk youth, but also to add another to my caseload at Priority Youth Innovations.

I also used this time to venture out as I decided to take my photography skills out into the public, as I now have a business called, Brian Dean Photography.  (If some of you are puzzled by the name, Dean is my middle name.  I just thought it was a more marketable product than using my surname).

With all the aforementioned happenings, my life, to me at least, seemed to be settling into a groove, putting me in a place that I liked.  Despite the fact that the year started out in a less than desirable fashion, I felt like I was heading in the right direction.

As 2013 wound down and I began to look ahead to 2014, for the first time in quite a while I was actually looking at the upcoming year with a mindset that had me anticipating it with a certain eagerness.  I don’t know what this year will hold for me, but I just have a very strong feeling that when I look back a year from today, that I will see many blessing.  I’m not sure how or why, but for whatever reason, I just sense it.

Yesterday I had somewhat of a validation for this.  It may seem like a stretch for some of you, but in my mind, it makes perfect sense.  You see, yesterday we replaced the front  door to our home.  The lock on the old one broke, so we decided just to replace the entire door instead of only the lock.  Hope has never really been very fond of the original one.  It had a big oval glass in the middle of it that took up roughly 60 percent of the area of the door.  It wasn’t completely clear though, as it had etched designs in it, but even so, one could easily see into our home without much effort.

As strange as it sounds, we were both very pleased with the new door, and for some reason, it seemed to have a calming effect on both of us.  Although it is only a door, changing it made a noticeable difference (in our minds at least) on how the entrance to our home appears.

Once it was in, I ran a couple of errands, and then returned home.  Before I walked into the house, I snapped a picture of it (see  below).  My intent was to put it on Facebook and make some sort of comment alluding to the fact that us doing this on this day was fitting.  It was kind of “out with the old, in with the new,” and that in a way, it was a representation of good things to come.  We know where it leads, but don’t always know exactly what is on the other side.

When I came in, I showed the picture to Hope and she basically said to me, verbatim, what I had been thinking just a few moments earlier.  A coincidence?  Maybe, but I don’t believe so.  The older I get, the less I believe in coincidence, and the more I believe that things happen for a reason.

Phrases are spoken, people show up at “just the right time” in our lives, or opportunities present themselves at the “perfect moment.”  In all honesty, I believe we are all a part of something much bigger than just ourselves, and I also believe that to a certain extent, what you “put out there” has a tendency to come back at you in some form or fashion.  I firmly believe that the universe has its ways of maintaining balance.  Some may call this luck; others may call it the Ying and the Yang, while others simply call it “God.”  I have a tendency to lean towards the latter two, and here is why…I don’t really believe in good or bad luck (well, winning the Powerball jackpot is lucky).  But I feel that you make your own luck.  I say this because I believe that all our lives are way too intricate and are so intertwined with one another that I find it hard to believe that our lives come down to a “game of chance,” or simply put, luck.

Secondly, my spiritual beliefs, based in Christianity, are founded on the fact that God “created the heavens and the earth.”  I include the universe in this creation.  We are told that God created all of it, and God said that what he did was “good,” after he had finished.  So, the way I understand it, God created everything good, and nothing bad.  I may get an argument from some of you on this part, but the sum of all my life’s experiences has led me to this conclusion at this moment, and I feel very strongly about it.

So, does our new red door (well it’s actually closer to maroon) hold special powers?  I sincerely doubt it.  Will our lives be different because of it?  Not likely.  Will 2014 be a year to remember for the Stoddard ‘s?  Only God knows for sure.  But I do believe he planted the same thought in both of our minds for a reason.  I think that was God’s way of reminding us to keep our focus on him, let him carry our burdens, and trust that he will provide for us what we need, when we need it.

On a side note, on a hunch, I looked up the symbolism of red doors.  There are a few different meanings, depending upon their origins:  In colonial America, homes with red doors were a save haven, where travelers knew they would be welcome and safe.  Many churches now have red doors, which symbolizes the protection of God.  In Feng Shui, a red door says “Welcome.”  In China, red doors are a symbol of luck.

So here again, we are presented with another opportunity to ask, coincidence or no?  The symbolism I found goes along with what I had already written.  As I said, I looked that up on a “hunch.”  I know where this hunch came from.  What do you think?

With all this being said, who ever thought all of this could have come out of the process of changing the door to my house?  We can sometimes find encouragement and inspiration in what on the surface seems like something mundane.  When it’s all said and done, I’m glad that yesterday I “opened that door” and let Him in.

oor door

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