Ding, ding, ding.
The fuel light flickered on right in the middle of the evening juggling act.
I had dinner on the stove at home and my two youngest waiting for me to get back.
I had just dropped my oldest kid off at Jiu Jitsu and was only supposed to be gone for 20 minutes.
Surely another 5 would be fine to get gas.
I pulled into the stall, grabbed my debt card and jumped out in a hurry.
The West Texas winter wind cut through my cotton hoodie.
I made me selections and hurried to wait in the warm car as it fueled up.
I was confused when the door didn’t open.
I tried again. Then again.
I looked inside to see my keys, my phone, my open wallet and a York peppermint patty wrapper in a pile on the center console, next to my purple North face jacket on the passenger seat.
Beyond them, I stared in disbelief at the passenger side door, locked.
Then back to the driver’s side, locked.
How did that even happen?
I turned and saw that an older gentleman at the stall next to me was watching my ridiculous display. I laughed. “I just locked myself out of the car.” He smiled, and told me that OnStar should be able to unlock it for me.
But my phone was locked in the car too.
We chatted back and forth for a minute and I reassured him that I would get it figured out.
He left and I waited for my vehicle to finish filling up while I considered all my options.
I could go inside and call my husband from the gas station phone, but I knew he wouldn’t answer the unknown number and wouldn’t check his voicemail until his conference calls were over.
That wouldn’t work.
I was only about a 15-minute walk from home. But where the heck were the spare keys anyway? And it was cold.
I guess I could try OnStar.
I started walking towards the gas station and then thought perhaps I should try to memorize my vin # first, so I turned on my heels and headed back to my Suburban.
As I did, I said a little prayer in my heart.
“Heavenly Father, please help me figure this stupid thing out.”
It was super eloquent.
And just like that, I remembered in way that felt like someone turned on a light in my head…
the broken, wonky door.
I prayed again. “Please let the broken door still be broken today.”
You see, ever since we got our Suburban one of the back doors doesn’t lock 97% of the time. Not with the inside locks, not with the remote. If all the other doors are locked and someone tries to open that one, even though it’s unlocked, the alarms with sounds without hesitation. But every now and again, it will feel like working and lock just like the rest of them. But then, It won’t unlock again unless you do it manually. This hardly ever happens, but happen it does. It’s one of those obnoxious things that you talk about fixing, but it’s never a necessity and you just get used to it the way it is. You put it on the someday list and move on with your life.
I squinted to see through the windshield to the back doors and I smiled when I saw the lock in the up position. For some reason, I still considered the idea that it might not work. That door was just like that. Maybe it would change its mind 2 seconds before I reached the handle and throw me right back into my damsel in distress predicament.
But it didn’t. It opened, the alarm sounded and I dove for the keys to turn it off.
I was saved.
I hopped in the driver’s seat, revved the engine and sped away like I had just won some kind of contest.
In my gratitude I prayed again, “Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for the gift of broken things.”
It made me wonder about all the parts of me that have been broken down and beaten up along my 35-year journey. Little imperfections that have become so much a part of me that I’ve forgotten they were even broken at all.
Over the last 5 years or so, since I began writing and painting and sharing more of myself with the world, I have noticed a pattern emerge.
People are not interested in locked doors.
Locked doors are things like
acting like we have all the answers and
telling other people how to live…
only showing the world our wins
and anything else that feels inauthentic and ego driven.
These things let people see into our windows, but keep them out in the cold.
These things give us a false sense of safety inside of our locked doors.
I tried this way of doing things many times, but I found that locking people out keeps me locked in as well.
"Safe," but lonely.
People much prefer the broken, wonky doors.
These are our own stories and struggles and the lessons we learned.
These are the places that still have a silver lining of pain and shame.
These are the things we aren’t sure we want the world to know about.
But our broken, wonky doors are the very thing that let people come in from the cold and find true connection.
The problem is, these broken, wonky doors usually come with alarms that seem scary.
But the alarms can’t really hurt us, they just scare us.
If we are willing to push through our fears and vulnerabilites we can grab the key that is authenticity.
Maybe, it’s all our wonky, broken pieces that will save us from a cold world and give us the tools we need to get back home.
Sending love and light, today and always.
P.S. Have you purchased my book Dreamer yet?
Watch the video below and then buy your copy on Amazon today!