My Garage Door Story.
One day, my garage door opener started acting funky. Instead of magically opening the garage door when I pushed the button, it stopped responding. At first, it would open if I positioned the car right in front of the garage door. But after a while, I had to take the remote in my hand and find the perfect spot either within the car or outside of the driver’s window, to get the dang door to open. Replacing the battery didn’t solve the problem and the spare remote didn’t work any better.
Finally, after putting up with this frustration for about five months, I called a garage door company to come out and take a look. They immediately diagnosed the issue. They told me that the 27-year-old garage door motor needed to be replaced. An hour later, I had a new garage door opener with upgraded features. Now I had the ability to open and close my garage door remotely by using my phone (very handy for those times when I am about to board a plane and I ask myself, “Hmmm, did I remember to close the garage door?”)
Now when I turn onto the cul-de-sac where my home is located and push the remote-control button, the garage door is open and ready as I drive into my driveway and a wave of gratitude comes over me. I feel happy each time the garage door opens. But I also notice my negative self-talk. “Why the hell did it take you so long to call the garage door company and get this fixed?”
Realizing the significance.
This gratitude/self-beat-up pattern was going on for a week or so before I caught myself.
Then it dawned on me. One reason I felt a deeper sense of gratitude about the garage door opener working properly was because of the discomfort I experienced when it didn’t. If it had been fixed immediately, the contrast of experience wouldn’t be as significant, and I wouldn’t have the same sense of appreciation.
Experiencing contrast and creating awareness.
And then, of course, my mind drifted to life-story writing and I saw the parallel. There have been many other times in my life when I needed to experience the contrast to recognize how much I take for granted.
Like when I…
- Finally went to physical therapy after putting up with a knee injury for weeks and appreciating being able to walk without pain soon after starting treatment.
- Traveled internationally for 6 months and came home to the US appreciating the luxuries I had assumed were everywhere.
- Crawled out of a deep depression after the breakup of my marriage and realized that a sense of well-being was a gift to be thankful for each day.
- Returned to the gym, saw the smiles on people’s faces, and hugged my friends as the restrictions due to the pandemic began to lift.
My garage door opener story may not be significant enough to go into my Legacy Journal and be passed down for generations. No one is going to learn a lesson of resilience based on my putting up with the issue for longer than needed.
And we don’t always have the opportunity to have what we lost return to us – the loss of a loved one due to death or breakup, the loss of a home due to fire or foreclosure, the loss to our body due to a change in health or injury…
But when we seek the deeper message in any challenging experience – the lesson, the blessing, the personal growth opportunity – it “opens the door” (pun intended) for greater self-awareness.
Taking the next step.
Realizations like this can serve as a springboard for remembering stories that are significant and worthy of contemplating and writing down. They can shine the light on patterns of behavior you wish to change, such as putting up with discomfort longer than you needed to or taking life for granted. They can deepen your appreciation for your life and yourself.
So, I offer you these writing prompts today to stimulate your memory and thoughts…
~Write about a time you put up with discomfort longer than necessary, or
~Write about a time it took losing something to realize what you had.
What did you learn from this experience that helps you call forward the best version of yourself now?
If you are ready to uncover more golden moments from your life and recall the events that shaped who you are today, sign up to receive my free, downloadable guide, Write Your Authentic Story Starter Kit.