June 20, 2024 Paige Nolan


Open the Gate….

One of the things I’m most grateful for in my life is the field behind our house.

It’s a stretch of government owned land – no one is allowed to build houses in this area – and on the other side of the field is a grassy park where people let their dogs off leash, even though it’s not officially a dog park.

When we first moved into this house, I didn’t think about the field that much. We had two middle-aged dogs but they weren’t dog-park-friendly dogs. We had a bunch of young kids but that field isn’t great for young kids because too many dogs.

For 10 years, I drove by that field hundreds, maybe thousands of times. I appreciated the land of it – it’s so nice to see space land in the middle of Los Angeles – but it wasn’t important to me.

For those 10 years, I can’t claim full-body gratefulness for that field. Today, I can.

Today, this field is everything. It has become truly central to my peace of mind.

And it was all because of this simple, white gate.

In 2020, we had the time at home to carefully consider our living space – and we decided to renovate. We added square footage, an office for me, a bedroom and bathroom for Myles and a bunch of upgrades like a new roof, new windows, exterior stucco and a back deck.  We didn't anticipate that we would change the backyard but once everything looked so beautiful – it seemed right to elevate the landscape.

And then it seemed right to install this simple, white gate.

Our two dogs were just over a year old and they needed the field.

I needed the field – but I didn’t even know I needed it.

And then there was the gate.

The gate offered me access to this field in a new way – the land feels so personal now. Like it’s mine for the long walking. It’s been here the whole time but without the gate, I couldn’t find it the way I arrive to it now.

Tonight, I’m grateful for the gates of our lives.

These are the people, places, experiences and things that come our way that open us to peace of mind.

Maybe your gate is a pair of running shoes or a teacher who has led you to an inspiring idea this year or a friend who has held space for your suffering so you can feel more at home in your own skin.

Maybe your gate is a new piece of furniture in your living room or a new showerhead or a slip of sunlight that comes through the backdoor at the same time every day – and catches your attention, even for a moment. Your gate could be the stray cat that’s made his way to your back porch. Maybe your gate is the friend who loves to cook with you or the reality TV show you watch to let go of all that didn’t get done today.

Maybe your gate is an actual gate, like mine, that leads you to a field or a charming outdoor café or into the front yard of your sister’s house.

Look for the gates. They’re everywhere, but mostly they’re where you go.

Appreciate the thresholds you cross – be led to peace but don’t overlook what opened for you to find that way.