Think back to a time when you were going to a new place alone. Did you hesitate as you neared the door? Did you have butterflies, nervous about what to expect and who you might meet? Did you wonder if you should just turn around and leave before entering the unknown? A common concern is that we won’t be accepted, that we will be turned away. We fear there will be “gatekeepers” who will enforce rules and entrance criteria which will prevent our participation.
New places are far less intimidating when we have company, someone beside us to encourage us and help us feel more comfortable. Even a friendly face at the doorway can be a help. Information is good preparation, but a personal guide makes the journey feel less threatening.
Throughout life, there are times when we are thrust into new situations with no warning and against our will: a loved one dies, a marriage disintegrates, a job ends, a child is diagnosed with a disability. Often there is no opportunity to prepare ahead of time. In the aftermath, we are overwhelmed with having to make decisions while dealing with strong emotions. Grief, anger and exhaustion are our companions. We don’t have energy to look for information that might help us. We feel isolated and alone; other affected folks seem to be walking their own lonely paths through the crisis.
When we face a difficult transition, what we really need is a “Door-holder:” someone to welcome us, hold the door for us, walk with us into this new place. Their smile and calm acceptance opens space for us to relax for a moment. And in that moment, hope begins to grow. We are still devastated, but we are no longer alone. There is someone to help connect us to resources and to others facing similar issues.