For approximately two months, I looked at the blue light at the base of the door situated at the end of the hallway outside of my apartment, just wondering what was beyond the door.
My curiosity never escalated to a point that might force me to open the door. I had always assumed it was locked. But several possibilities were rolling around in my head. For instance, it could be a secret patio that only the apartment complex administration could access. It could be a utility closet with a window. All I knew (or thought I knew) was that it was locked and I had never seen anyone open it or walk through it from the other side.
Then, my mom came for a visit and brought her dog, Gus, with her. As we were taking Gus downstairs for a walk one afternoon, my mother very unceremoniously walked through the mysterious door, like it was no big deal (which it wasn’t, really), like she knew the entire time that it was just the access point for the back stairs (which she did), like she had no idea I had been staring at that door for months conjuring up various complex theories about what was behind the door (which she didn’t).
I stood in the hallway, mouth agape, in total astonishment. “You opened it,” I stammered. Mom looked at me like I was from a different planet. “Yeah, Linds, how else am I supposed to get to the back stairs?”
Hmmm…My mind was completely blown. It was so anti-climactic. Why didn’t I just open the door?
Now seems an appropriate time to get to the point of my little anecdote. In my opinion, the human mind works just like a door. I had a college professor that used to ask us to “unlock” things for other students. One guy in my class didn’t understand what the Bruce Springsteen hype was all about (uh, hello?) until someone took the time to “unlock” The Boss for him.
Our minds are closed, for whatever reasons. Opening them seems so abstract and difficult, like we have to become completely different people in order to open them. The fact is that, just like a door, we need someone to unlock our minds, say something that makes sense to us and to which we can relate. But we also have to be receptive to and aware of what other people are saying to help us unlock the doors of our minds.
In an age when consumption of material happens in the span of time that it takes to read 140 characters, I know it can be a challenge to want to take the time to understand different perspectives and place ourselves in the shoes of others, but that is the only sure way to open our minds. Just like opening that door at the end of the hallway, opening our minds is easier than we think, and the only thing lying on the other side is a stairway to a better place.