What’s Behind Door #2 ?
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.
Change is in the air, and I can feel it. It’s like the breezeless seas of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” and I’m nearly done hacksawing the albatross from my neck. Change…and choices.
In the months before my mother’s mother died, I was six years old. I spent quite a bit of time in her house while my parents and grandfather raced to take care of their farms and the planting season in that time of death and fragility. She was too sick from chemo to play with me, so I entertained myself by watching game shows on the brand new color TV that Granddaddy had bought her but that she was too sick to watch.
My favorite game show was Monty Hall’s Let’s Make a Deal. Contestants dressed in costumes, so every show was like Halloween. Monty would pick a contestant dressed like a daisy and offer her money or prizes if she had a matchbook in her purse or a paperclip.
At each show’s exciting finale, I couldn’t wait to watch. The contestant was given a choice of three prizes, each behind a “mystery door” or a “mystery curtain.” The main prize would always be something really great, like an all-expense-paid trip to London or a new car. Then there would be a good but not great prize, like new patio furniture or a set of luggage. And then there was the prize usually no one wanted, like a goat dressed in a bonnet.
After the audience had salivated over a description of the main prize, Monty would ask the contestant to choose one of the mystery doors. Then with great fanfare, he would show them what was behind one of the other doors, usually the secondary prize. Then the contestant would have to decide to stick with the original choice or to switch to the remaining door. Whether they stuck or switched, they would jump up and down like children if they won the trip or the car. And if their choice of a door revealed a mule wearing a dress, then the entire audience would awwwwww in unison, me included, except when I thought it was funny and wanted one for myself.
Statisticians argue over whether to stick with a mystery door or switch. They use numbers for their scarecrows. But it’s just an exercise and if they pick the goat or the mule, well, the fun was in figuring out which door to open and not in living with the results.
My future looks a lot like that game show. But which door to take? Choices, choices, choices. And no guarantee that I’ll pick an exotic cruise over an old rubber boot and a broken fishing pole.
“Stay flexible,” the Ether whispers to me. “Your life is changing in ways you can only imagine.”
“You’re being given opportunities,” AngelSu says, “to make your life into what you want it to be.”
I’ve had the chance to look and live What’s Behind Door #1 for the past year. I’ve kept my business career to pay the mortgage, continued to write and publish books, stayed in the same house though upgraded to my tastes, mothered my wonderful girls, contracted and expanded my circle of friends, and explored the possibilities of finding love again, all without leaving this town. In a way, it’s been life as usual, with much of
the same infrastructure but modified to reflect my abilities to pull together home, work, and spiritual efforts as a single mom.
But now I’m given a glimpse of What’s Behind Door
#2. It’s not the same life I have now. It’s definitely not about home and family. As far as I can see, it’s not about spiritual service either. It’s more focused on me and only me and on my professional life and little else.
It comes to me as a job offer. A prestigious one. Lots of perks, lots of travel. A dream job to most of my colleagues. A promotion. Significant money. But 2000 miles away.
It means leaving behind friends, my spiritual Circle, the home I’ve built, the life I’ve built, my relatives in nearby towns. Most of all, it means leaving behind my children and striking out on my own, building a new life from scratch except for my profession.
But I would be living in an exciting city with more people like me, more people who think like me, and the potential to find a mate eventually who truly understands me. The population set offers more opportunities for romantic fulfillment than a small town here in the Bible Belt, and I already know two somewhat interesting men there who want a relationship if I’m ever geographically that close to them, though I’m not sure I’m interested in anything more friendship from either of them.
It’s a me-focused life I’m being offered, a selfish life of supposedly getting everything I should want in terms of what the public thinks of me—which has never much mattered to me—but it seems lonelier than here. By far. Yet it’s the kind of opportunity that my colleagues tell me I’m a fool not to take.
So what’s it going to be? Stay here for a while longer with Door #1?
Dump it all and take Door #2?
Or wait and see what’s behind Door #3?