Opening the Door: New Challenges, One Year Later

A month ago, I posted an excerpt from Struggle Central. It was one of my more insecurity-inducing posts, as the memoir penetrated the surface of my struggles from camp last summer — struggles I only vaguely referenced on this blog before diving into them headfirst with my book.

That particular Struggle Central excerpt featured the heart-racing, chill-inducing, gaze-gathering day when I opened the rickety door of a dining hall filled with dozens of unmet men.

A year ago today, I was in North Carolina. It was the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and I was driving down a winding road that led to a driveway with a massive gate. That balmy afternoon in which I was late to staff check-in, I stepped from my car and  I stutter-stepped toward a dining hall filled with socializing dudes.

A year ago today, I reached for the rickety door I didn’t at all want to open.

A year ago today, I opened that door.

Camp Ridgecrest sign

Writing about such a seemingly simple moment in the context of a mere blog post and not the breadth of a struggle-centric book seems unfitting. If you’ve read the book, you might get it now — get me. If you haven’t, you probably won’t.

But now that my book is out — now that my life is “out” — I certainly hope to blog more about those plentiful struggles o’ mine.

Perhaps today represents more than a simple camp anniversary. Perhaps today is a pivotal day that will usher the continued opening of doors for my life and my story on this blog.

The door of physical shame.

The door of relational fear.

The door of closeted sexuality.

The door of inferiority among men.

So many doors; so many potential posts to come.

Just yesterday, Staff Week commenced at Camp Ridgecrest. (And I’m certain it will last more than 7 days once again this summer.)

Over the coming weeks, as more and more status updates and pictures flood my Facebook and Twitter feeds from North Carolina, I imagine my life here in California will be hard. Strained.

So much of me still feels pain and loss over being 3,000 miles away from where so much of me feels I “should” be this summer.

But things are brewing here. Summer jobs, youth volunteer options, and just a general sense of belonging.

I feel it. And I don’t wanna bask in the could-have-been. Need to bask more enthusiastically in the now and going-to-be. I need to do more than simply stay in California this summer.

On this one-year anniversary of the day I officially opened the door to crazy camp reality…

I need to keep opening those impossible doors. Because the long arduous mountain doesn’t end with the door of a mere book release.

New doors exist down that mountain and up entirely new ones as well.

Rickety doors.

Have you ever second-guessed a life-decision and wondered where your life would be had you taken the other path? Do you remember super pivotal dates like me, years down the road?

  • MLYaksh

    September 1st, 2006; September 14th, 2008; July 10th, 2010; November 19th, 2010; April 10th, 2011; May 6th, 2013. Each date changed my life. Each date presented a decision that I have definitely second-guessed. But each date was a door that I opened and that God has used for His incredible Glory.
    There are always more doors to open in this life. Until we reach our final Home, we’ll have another door to get through. And that’s something to truly be excited about! Opening the door you did last year- it gave way to something far greater than you could have ever imagined. Feel like the Bible says something about this in Ephesians 3:20-21…

    • TMZ

      Apparently you have more pivotal dates than me. Haha, But it’s always awesome to walk through those moments!

  • Rebecka

    Oh dear, yeas! I have a few moments like that etched in my brain. The earliest one, and perhaps the biggest regret of my life, is from 1990. I was too scared to open the door in front of me and I often wonder what could have happened if I’d been braver. There’s no point in wondering that though, we can’t change the past. But we can ask God to bless our future!

    • TMZ

      I’ve also had some doors that I ultimately left closed, but I’m glad I’m realizing the importance of opening those doors now. As hard and intimidating as it might be sometimes. The only way growth can happen is through an open door!

  • Jim

    My pivotal date was July 18, 1978, the day I signed my name on an enlistment contract and left my home and my family for Coast Guard boot camp. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, despite being told what to expect by the recruiters, who sugar coated pretty much everything.

    • TMZ

      Wow, a pivotal date indeed! Ironically enough, 7/18 was also the date I moved from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Needless to say, I kinda have negative connotations with that date.