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Open or Closed

December 26, 2007

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I took the kids for donuts today. I’m taking some time off, I have a week of unused vacation. As we were heading to the donut shop my son asked me if the store was open. Now I really didn’t know for sure, I thought it was but since I didn’t know for sure I told him I didn’t know.

Well he responded that he thought it was closed. I have no idea why he thought this but I did find it very interesting because from that point on my son worked with the idea that we were going to be disappointed upon our arrival.

Do you ever deal with things like this? I didn’t know the answer and neither did he and yet our thoughts influenced our actions. They influenced our expectations and they colored our conversation.

I think we spent a large part of our lives dealing with open or closed. We end up dealing with the ideas behind our beliefs, never realizing how much our expectations are colored by what we think about a given situation.

So two of the three kids are excited but not Nathan. No, he has decided it is probably closed the day after Christmas, besides it is almost 11:30 and donut shops usually close before lunch. What makes it more interesting is that his belief, it is closed, begins to color my daughters expectations. They start to lose their excitement. They begin to prepare for disappointment.

In reality much of what we deal with in life is open or closed. It is one person’s ideas contrasted with others and we are blind to it. Why? Well because our assumption, our idea is the best because if it wasn’t the best we wouldn’t have it. How many fights with my wife have been open or closed? Too many. How many issues with my friends? My children?

How many churches have split because of open or closed? I’m not asking that we not think that way, I don’t see how, but I do think we should be more understanding when we get to those places. Many times in life there are no right answers, I mean you can exit at 86th street and take a left or exit at 76th and take a right and both get to the same place. If the question was how do I get to the final destination then both are correct. IF the question is who has the best way or fastest way then trouble begins.

I pray that in the New Year I remember this little exercise of open or closed. I pray that when I find myself disagreeing that I ask is this open or closed. Maybe I will worry less about who is right or wrong.

Well we arrived at the donut shop and it was… I guess you will never know.

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