Paint Doors, Gain Passage

Our apartment’s elevator is inoperable. When I moved in, my landlord told me, “It hasn’t worked for over thirty years.” People would stand and wait. To deter hope of the elevator’s function, someone put a giant plant in front of it. Months later, a plywood covering followed. Recently, maintenance painted over the entire operation. Now, only the trained eye can spot the buttons.

I wondered if closing certain doors could take just as much courage as walking through them.

In my second Brave Tutu article, Dinosaurs, Doorways, and Confident Knocks I focused on my nephew’s bravery. On Halloween Austin walked through doorways with excited expectation and zero reservation. At the end of 2015, I thought about him and reflected on the closed-off elevator. I wondered if closing certain doors could take just as much courage as walking through them.

When elevators work well, they open with promised power. In only a moment, this machine can elevate up or drop down several levels. When they’re not working though, like the painted-over one in my lobby, there is zero chance for assistance. A professional probably investigated our antique one and said, “This structure promises more danger than efficiency and safety.”

Even with the certain condition, I’m sure my landlord hesitated at the permanent closure. It’s sort of sad to say goodbye to a 1930s door that helped generations arrive at their desired destination. Of course, sealing up the elevator was sad but essential. That metaphor hits me strongly.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Fore via

Photo courtesy of Patrick Fore via

Last year, I closed a door on something that offered more downward heart-hazard than upward elevation. Still, for a while, I didn’t want to paint over it or seal it shut. Honestly, I didn’t know how. Eventually, using that final coat of paint offered more peace than I had known. Turns out, the impermanent blockers (like the plant and the plywood) didn’t suffice. The strength to rise higher was in me via God who gave me those legs to walk wisely forward.

This New Year I wonder what inoperable doors others might have which need to be courageously painted? (Certainly, I’m not talking about people or dreams worthy of maintenance. The bravery and discernment needed for redeemable doorways is a whole other article.) I’m wondering about those passageways that are already stuck with certain heart hazard. In 2016, what people or perspectives might you choose to close forever so you can reach new heights?


 Your Brave Tutu (You’re brave, too-too!)