It’s just a door; a storefront in a row of shops. You’d never guess that on the other side of the door was something that could help save a life.
I first saw the blue door 13 years ago—after a year immersed in cancer—- five surgeries, two chemotherapy courses, and radiation.
Though I was done with treatment, I wasn’t done with fear. It tormented every waking moment. And every sleeping moment. I couldn’t shake it.
One of the cruelties of cancer— or any crisis– is that it can become a paradox. You’re fearful and stressed–and everyone tells you the best thing for you is to escape from the fear and stress.
Which is true….only you still have cancer, or what made you fearful and stressed in the first place. So when you find that you can’t escape the stress and fear, you worry that you’re making it worse—-which makes you even more stressed and fearful than you already were.
There’s no cure for cancer, and often there’s no cure for this vicious cycle of your own stress and fear. I had pretty much given up on ever finding anything to help me relax at all.
That’s where I was when I first walked through the blue door.
A sign overhead said “Glazes.” Inside was a little paint-it-yourself ceramics shop. I had no talent for art of any kind. So I was dumbfounded to discover that paints were like a magic potion to wash away my worries. Art swept me away— into a world of color, and shape and design, that I had never seen, never been able to see.
At least, this world existed for me behind the blue door. So obviously I wanted to come as much as I could.
I would sit in my car out front, waiting for the owner to show up. I couldn’t wait to get inside—- where I knew the worry, stress and fear in my real world would drop away the minute I walked through that door. And it never failed me.
I always sat in the same seat, up at the front of the shop where I could see the world outside the door. But I was in the zone; hours zoomed by when I didn’t see, hear or notice anything else.
Not only did I learn to appreciate art, I learned to appreciate small town life. The owner, Karen Fenton, gave me my own key, so I could open the blue door anytime; come and go before and after hours. How great is that?
Ultimately I started doing mosaics and needed more space; so I got my own key to my own door to my own studio. And awhile back, Karen sold the shop and I returned my key to the new owner.
But I would still come to paint, alone or with friends; and Glazes never lost its magical power.
A few weeks ago, the shop closed; the blue door locked up for the last time. Though such an integral part of my life is lost—-I feel incredibly grateful that it was ever found. Opening the door to Glazes gave me the key to find a way to heal myself.
I found peace behind this blue door; in a completely unlikely and unexpected place. And it convinced me that— no matter what or where it might be— if you keep looking, there is a key and a door for everyone else.