House with a tree

As I set up my calendar for the month, I select a quote I’ve found that speaks to me. I write it in my planner and leave space below it to capture phrases I hear or read that speak to me and relate to the quote. I found this practice centers me throughout the month, and helps me be more present in my conversations, meetings, and readings. For April 2024 the quote was, “The world will unlock hundreds of doors when you give this day all the courage, love, and intensity you can.”

My month ended with mom and I in North Carolina for a family funeral in the area where she and dad both grew up, just north of Charlotte. During our three-day trip we saw countless doors. Just about every Presbyterian church in a 20 mile radius and countless homes of loved ones long gone. I saw them all with new perspective… physically as I was now 5’10” vs. kid size and emotionally, 50 from vs. 15.

Here are quotes, lyrics, and phrases that that caught my attention during the month, and this trip:

  • Your life so far has proven it’s possible
  • Maybe we’re not here to solve it; We’re here to evolve it
  • Soul work is not a high road; It’s a deep fall into an unforgiving darkness that won’t let you go until you find the song that sings you home
  • I realized belonging is not something I just receive – I actively cultivate belonging through the way I see and know others
  • Days like today remind me we receive what we practice
  • You can’t fake the frequency
  • It’s a privilege to grieve – it means you loved someone and they loved you
  • If I do but one thing today may I be human sunshine for someone
  • Write our story, sing your song, speak truth into the hard parts
  • I never worry about the places you invite me
  • There is no “we” in chocolate (or bourbon)
  • One day you know what you had to do, and began
  • Can we sit with it, and keep going anyway?
  • Grace always finds you exactly where you are, and does not leave you where it found you

While in North Carolina I saw more than doors. I saw the potential they opened and the legacy they built.

I saw church doors in four communities that welcomed various branches of my family tree which led to a foundation of faith for generations of Oehlers, Goodnights, Reynolds, and Lipes. I saw the door of the church where my parents met at kids which led to a 59-year marriage (and me!). I road by and saw the front door of my grandmother MawMaw’s house which led to three generations of educators (principle; elementary, middle school, and high school teachers; university dean, librarian, Sunday school). I saw the front door of four small “mill houses” given by my great grandfather to each of his kids which led to hundreds of community leaders – business owners, teachers, writers, corporate executives, volunteers, fireman, policeman, pastor, and more. I delighted at the cute, well-kept door at my grandmother Nanny’s old house that led to the comfort of thousands through the pies, casseroles, and visitations made by Nanny and her descendants. Then there was the door to our favorite BBQ restaurant that led to countless family meals and laughs for 40+ years (and us luckily being able to eat their twice and take 3 pounds home!).

For me, these doors were portals that allowed me to time travel to loved ones long gone and previous versions on myself. My mind connecting a thread between them all. Every person. Every thought. Every action. Every emotion. Every hope. Every loss. Every choice. Everything separate. Everything together.

Every door both a fixed point in time and with unlimited possibilities.

April 2024 Quote: The World Will Unlock Hundreds of Doors…

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