The Opening of Doors

I open doors for my wife pretty much everywhere we go. I open them for her when we go into a building, and I open them for her when we leave. I open the car door for her when she gets in, and I close it after her when she's seated. She's a little too impatient to wait for me to open the car for her to get out, but I would if practicality would allow. I rush ahead, though, if I'm fast enough that day, to open the front door when we return home.

Is this chivalry? Yes, but it's also something much, much more. I was reminded of exactly what it is once as I shopped at an ice cream store. As I walked up to the door, a kind-looking elderly man opened it for me. I thanked him, and we went inside. As I left, he was just ahead of me, exiting at the same time. Again, he opened the door for me and held it as I walked through.

"Thank you very much," I said and smiled at him.

"It's okay," he said, "I don't have anyone to open doors for anymore, so I don't mind at all." He smiled sadly as he turned away and walked to his car. I stood there for a moment before I walked to mine. A door had been opened.

You see, there's a rule I try to live by: Never pass up an opportunity to tell loved ones that you love them. It becomes worn to say the words all the time, but we DO say we love others in the way we act, by the very assumptions that underlie how we regard them, how we treat them. If this expression of love underlies everything we do, then THAT'S why we open doors, why we help with the dishes, why we make sure our wives or husbands or children get to work or school on time, why we peck them on the cheek when they come home, why we kiss them soulfully before going to sleep, and why we listen to every word they say.

Never pass up an opportunity to tell loved ones you love them. How does this extend to the rest of the world? What happens when you become a loving member of the human race...when you love everyone just for what they are, a part of our human family, even if they're someone we don't like? How do we tell them? We can't say the words...not without sounding like a nut. So we smile. We regard them as humans, as equals. We speak to them humanely and without judgment. We open doors.

What happens to you if every time you pull a door open, it's not just a courtesy, but an expression of who you are? How many doors are opened in those moments?

Someday, I might not have anyone special to open doors for. It could happen to any of us, at any time. So I open as many doors as I can, everywhere I can. In doing so, I find doors opened within.

And those doors were meant to be walked through.

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