Every exit

Garden Gate, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia 2005

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.”Tom Stoppard

Sometimes a painful change can be eased by choosing to have faith that good things may lie ahead.  Perhaps we can re-frame a forced or unwanted exit — from a job, a relationship or any phase of life — as the beginning of a new direction.  If we focus on the discovery of hidden possibilities, we will face the future with optimism instead of dread.


  1. My favorite Stoppard quote is “I think age is a very high price to pay for maturity.”

    • I’ve never heard that one, but it certainly rings true.

  2. Lynn

    My girls as they grew up ) and perhaps even more so as adults) hear me say (mother superior said it in sound of music!) that when God shuts a door, he opens a window. Your post today reminded me of the importance of viewing exits as entrances… And that even when a very big door shuts….. Windows (often not seen with only a fleeting glance) await.

    • Lynn, I too thought of that great line from “The Sound of Music” when I wrote this. It has been a favorite thought for me in the many years since I first saw that wonderful movie. And yes, what a comfort to think that our final exit from this world is only an entry to one whose beauty we cannot now imagine. Thanks for being here!

  3. (Jeremiah 29:11) A friend once told me that I was waiting for God to send me a flashing neon sign as an answer to a decision I was facing and that I needed to realize that that just was not going to happen. She said, “You have to make a decision and God will help you make it right.” I try to remember that when I know that a change needs to be made, big or small. I just pray that I can believe God will be help me through. I sometimes have to fall to my knees and ask for help with my unbelief but I think your are right in your thoughts here today. If we can focus on the possibilities then God will help us make it right.

    • Amy, thanks so much for your comment, and for being with our family through this difficult time. I’m a big fan of the “flashing neon sign” myself, and often pray for God to make His will unmistakably plain to me. Sometimes He does, but I think more often we have to settle for limited sight and trust that we will get guidance as we go. It’s like the quote Ann Lamott tells — I can’t remember where it originated — about driving in the dark and only being able to see the distance of your headlights, but that short line of sight is enough to make an entire trip of many miles.

  4. Mike Bertoglio

    I really like the Ann Lamont example. We don’t have to always see the end point. I think the Buddhists talk about that a lot too about living in these one day tight compartments. In other words just focus on what is right in front of you. As I grow older it seems change becomes more of a challenge and I am more resistant to it. I still have the same cell phone I have always had; an old Verizon flip phone with a punch key pad. Also Paul’s word about, ” now seeing through a glass dimly,” comes to mind.
    My wi-fi connecction down here at the beach is kind of spotty so don’t know if you will get this.
    Also tried to post on Upper Room site, but not sure it went out.
    I suppose we could also say death is also an entry too? I believe so.

    • Mike, yes we did get the comment! And yes, I think the quote is a good metaphor for “the final exit” which we believe will be only the beginning. Nothing wrong with staying with what works – my husband and even my older son have steadfastly refused to latch on to the whole “Social Media” phenomenon, for example, but they both accomplish more than I do, so I can’t argue with their results! Hope you get some warmer weather at your beach house.

  5. what a great picture to go with your quote. I’m convinced that the changes I most dread and worry about, usually aren’t as bad in the end but it’s hard to manage my natural tendency to be a worrier….daddy was too.

    • I too am a worrier and I realize that only makes things worse sometimes. My husband is not much of a worrier, but he has a harder time with change than I do. Between the two of us we have to practice hard to stay positive and TRUST. My Daddy likes to say that “nothing is ever as good or bad as it seems at the time” and I think there is a lot of truth in that, at least most of the time. Glad you like the photo. Colonial Williamsburg is one of my favorite places.

      • Your dad has a good point…steady as she goes. Balance is key. Williamsburg really is a fabulous place isn’t it? We were for a visit in 2000 and enjoyed it a lot.

  6. I enjoy reading Upper Room devotionals and found your link. I can appreciate your struggle and the work to be done as challenges exert their impact. May God watch over and bless you and your family in the coming days and nights. Stop by my blog sometime if you get a chance.

    • Cynthia, thanks for stopping by! I am eager to explore your blog; it looks like a really uplifting site and I hope you will be reading some comments there from me soon! And thanks so much for your prayers and good wishes.

  7. Eleni

    Thank you for these inspiring words . . . speaking for myself, I know I need a constant reminder that life’s adversities are not the end to opportunities but the discovery of possibilities. It is not easy to remember this or to choose to look at difficulty as a shaping force. Unlike Hercules that chose to follow the narrow path of Virtue, I have to stop and think at the junction. It feels more natural to take the wide path.

    What a wonderful blog, Julia! I follow every posting daily, although I rarely post comments.
    Most of the times, I am not sure what to add to such beautiful pictures and thoughtful captions.

    • Hi Eleni, I am so happy to read your comment here! I have been intending to write you and fill you in on all the latest news. We still miss you so much and think of you often. Just yesterday I was making some of the Jasmine tea you gave me (I have made it last by using it sparingly) and thinking how much I wished we could sit and talk. I hope you and your family are doing well. Actually the post today reminds me of what you wrote to Matt in the card you gave him just before you moved away…maybe I got the idea from you first! Thanks for being here with us.

  8. Good Post.
    Life isn’t simple. Our lives are constantly changing, often to the good, and sometimes our perceptions of change challenge us, and make us feel bereft. In such situations, it’s difficult to keep on that path of self-knowledge and self-actualization.

    • Thank you! Yes, it is sometimes hard to tell “good change” from “bad change,” especially in the beginning when we are adjusting to the unfamiliar. It helps to focus on the things that are reliable, and for many of us, this is where our faith comes in and provides a stable support not found elsewhere. Also, I have to remind myself that “reliable” does not always mean “unchanging;” many people and situations remain steadfast in supporting us despite changes in their specific circumstances.

      • Exactly. You are so right.
        The meaning of “Reliable” you have stated is quite true. Very appropriate, I feel.
        I am learning to take a deep breath sometimes.

        • That’s something I need to learn too. Our younger son has multiple disabilities, and he often gets frustrated when trying to learn something new. Years ago his teachers and occupational therapists taught him to stop and take a deep breath when he feels anxious or frustrated. He has never forgotten that advice and now when I see him taking obviously deep breaths, I know he’s trying to calm himself.

  9. Kathy

    Oh, I love this photo & the words accompanying it! I love all the photos of gates and doorways and windows we have shared. I think of you every time I pass an interesting entryway and usually pause to take a picture.

    • Thanks so much! I have to find my picture of Molly looking wistfully out the window at us as we left to explore London. Maybe it will eventually show up here.


  1. Never too old to begin | Defeat Despair

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