Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Doors that Close

I was looking through these Fulbright Scholar things, maybe you’ve heard of them -- and I saw the word Finland. It made me smile.

I had Finland on the mind when I was 13 years old. Somehow I’d gotten my hands on this exchange program brochure. Without the knowledge of my parents, I applied to one of the only ones that didn’t cost thousands of dollars and was a scholarship, to Finland. What did I know about Finland? Nothing. I just wanted to go, somewhere.

I can still remember how important it felt. The careful filling out of all the forms with the nice pen. The wanting. I got down to the finalist, and my mom, who now knew her daughter wanted to spend the summer across the Atlantic, drove me hours away for the interview. I’d never before been so nervous as I was, sitting at the head of all those people who got to decide if I went or not. I did get one laugh out of them, so I thought there was hope.

Then a thin little envelope arrived, that relieved my parents greatly. I didn’t get it.

It seems so funny now, but I was so crushed by that that I literally thought I’d missed my chance. I didn’t even look, really, for other opportunities. It reminds me of this quote:

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
-Alexander Graham Bell

I was blind to everything else. In my dramatic 13-year-old mind, Finland was it, like a boy who had dumped me who'd I swore I'd never get over. Luckily I didn’t stay that way, and I couldn’t really tell you what snapped me out of it. But here I am, putting Peace Corps Volunteer on my resume, looking at this program I used to think was just for people who were smarter than me. From now on I'll try to turn away faster from those doors that close.

1 comment:

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