Which door will you open this week?

Smoke gets in your eyes has been the theme of California this week. From total devastation of homes and communities to school closures for cities hours away from the actual fires.  The effects of this far-reaching smoke have physical effects, of course. Most people have sore throats, coughs and headaches. But there is a shared feeling of grief, sadness, fear and concern.  It's a very heavy feeling, and it is felt everywhere as we process this life shift through the smoky haze. Some are collecting goods, some are donating money, everyone is praying.  

So on Friday, as I was leaving a restaurant with one of my very best friends who was in town for work, you can imagine how touched I felt when the following happened. This tiny, sweet, elderly grandma in full smoke mask, toting her two little grandsons, masked as well, insisted on holding the door for me and my girlfriend as we left. Both of us were far younger, nor did we have children with us, but she insisted on holding the door and exuded this demeanor of kindness, wisdom and love.

It made such an impression on us both that we started talking about it once the door was closed.

How we handle doors is how we handle everything. 

In these smoky circumstances, true colors begin to surface. I've had people push their way through me as I opened the door to leave myself, I've had people open the door for me and end up holding it for many others. I’ve had doors closed on me. My favorite is the ""No, you first" barter that happens when both end up at the door first. 

Doors matter.

Because it's not about the door at all. It’s about the human and how we treat that human. 

It's about kindness. 

We all want broad strokes of change and healing in this world.

It is palatable, just like the smoke grief. 

We want our world to be a happier, more peaceful existence for all. 

Broad strokes of change and grace are amazing, yes. But how we do one thing is how we do everything. Want to change the world? 

Begin with holding the door for someone...with a smile even and watch what happens.

Be the small miracle for someone's day that helps them to feel acknowledged, recognized, seen and connected to another human being. 

The great thing about this whole “change the world by holding a door open” thing is that it gives the receiver the chance to shower you with gratitude too. But we can’t go into the door opening business with the expectation that someone is going to shower us with praise or gratitude and then be offended when they don’t say thank you for their opened door.

Kindness is about being kind regardless of the external circumstances.  It certainly feels wonderful to have someone say, “Thank you” after opening the door but in this week’s exercise, it’s not our end goal.

Open the door and hold it with no expectation.

Set intention to create this kindness shift as you open the door for someone as you enter your Thanksgiving dinner. Open the door for someone and let them enter the Black Friday sale first. Trust that God will reward you with greater blessings in return. Perhaps a great Christmas deal or maybe something far greater.

A shift in your own heart has an immense ripple effect. 

In this busy world of coming and going, open the door to kindness.

Be the catalyst that brightens someone’s day by holding the door for them and realize you’re not just holding the door for them, you’re holding it for you too.

Be your own change. Be the kindness you want showered upon you. Hold the door for a stranger in the way that you want it to be held for you too. Filled with presence, grace, gratitude and kindness.

And watch how many doors begin to open for you in return.

Have a great Thanksgiving! I’m so grateful for you and this incredible community and can’t wait to hear your great stories about the doors you’ve opened this week. 

Much love,

Erin Garay