freezing outside an unlocked door

Fife Photography || Norman, OK - Photographing happy people since 2006

Today is a first at The Best Advice So Far blog: a guest post. Why? Well, first, because it’s a great post. Second, my new friend Dustin asked – said he felt it reflected the ideas and ideals contained in The Best Advice So Far – and I agreed. Third, I can’t talk about trying new things if I’m not willing to … er … well … try new things. Lastly, he asked; and given the post he’s written, I wanted to prove that some doors open with a simple chance taken.

Enjoy today’s guest post by Dustin Fife. Leave a comment (which we’ll both read and reply to). And please hop on over to his site to check out what he’s got going on there. (You just may see a post from me sometime in the future, as well.) You can also check out his page HERE.

Guest Post by Dustin Fife:

Let’s jump right into the story, shall we? (I’m not a fan of introductions, after all).

My lovely wife, Amber, was prego-nissimo with Aspen and we had one of them regular ol’ checkups. Trouble was, her appointment was going to be right when the bus dropped off Corban (our oldest).

No biggie, right? We called a good friend of ours (Lisa) and asked her if she could watch the boys while we did our whole preggo-wellness-check-thingy.

Appointment comes and goes without incident. (Boring story so far, huh?) Amber picks me up from work, intending to drop me off where my truck is parked at the bus stop. (Remember that–both our cars are not at home).

On the way home, Amber drove down I-35 while I lounged in the passenger seat.

Then the call came.

It was Lisa, the sitter. Amber picked up the phone.

“Hi,” Lisa said. “Is it normal for Corban not to be home yet?”

Amber’s eyes widened. “He’s not there?”

Her voice was laced with tension.

Of course, I didn’t hear what Lisa said, but I had all the information I needed to set me into a panic. My gut twisted and I went into terror mode–envisioning every horrific scenario possible, including several that would make national news.

“Let me call you back,” Amber said.

Then there was this moment of silence–dark and agonizing and terrorizing.

“Call the school district,” she said. “Call the neighbors. Call the bus dispatcher.”

I rip my phone from my pocket and start dialing. Our minivan filled with noises like Grand Central Station.

“Did the bus leave on time?”

“Did you see him enter the bus?”

“Did you see Corban?”

“Did you see Corban?”

“Did you see Corban?”


I don’t remember.


Holy Hannah of terror.

Meanwhile, in Norman Oklahoma…

Corban Fife sat on the door step in front of his house. Just as he’d done for the last forty-five minutes. Where were Mom and Dad? Mom’s car was gone. Dad’s truck was gone. Why wouldn’t they be home?

It was all so very strange to young Corban Fife.

Strange indeed.

The door behind him creaked and a woman emerged. He knew her, didn’t he? Wasn’t she one of Mom’s friends from Church. What was her name?

“There you are!” she said. She let out a long breath and placed her hand on her chest. “My goodness. Where have you been?”

“Right here,” Corban said. For 45 minutes, he wanted to say.

“Why didn’t you just open the door?” she asked.

“I…” Corban trailed off. “I thought it was locked.”

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City.

Amber’s phone buzzed. “It’s Lisa,” Amber said.

I watched, holding my breath, saying a silent prayer.

Amber sighed and her shoulder’s relaxed. “Thank goodness.”

Relief washed over me like a warm shower after a cold day. He was okay. He was found.

He was home.

An Allegory

Once the oppressing nerves relaxed, I almost laughed. Really? That kid was sitting outside for almost an hour and he didn’t even try to open the unlocked door? How sad! How depressing!

And yet…don’t I do that?

How many of us have not even tried to do something we’ve always wanted to do because we perceive that that door is locked to us?

“I’d love to learn how to fix my own car…but it’s too complicated.”

“I’d love to become a writer, but I don’t know how to write.”

“I’d love to get in shape, but I have bad genetics.”

“I’d love to write my own music, but I don’t even know how to begin.”

“I’d love to … but … ”

What’s stopping you? Really? Is it an actual obstacle – or only a perceived one? I’m not one of those cheesy motivational speakers who will tell you that you can do anything you want to do. I’m a realist. But there’s a fine line between being realistic and living beneath your potential.

This allegory has remained with me since that day. How many times have I refused to try something because I perceived that door was “locked”?

And you know what? Maybe it is too complicated. Maybe you don’t have enough time. Maybe it’s not a good fit.

Or maybe that door is completely unlocked, just waiting for you to turn the handle.

Who knows?

It’s a choice. Make that choice and see what happens. Couldn’t hurt. Right?

What have you always wanted to try? What are your perceived “locked doors”?

Tell us ’bout it. 🙂

Dustin Fife: writer of science fiction and inspirational stories about everyday peopleHi! I’m Dustin. I am a novelist, podcaster, YouTuber, and blogger. I write science fiction, as well as stories about everyday humans with everyday struggles. (Think “Humans of NY” meets Chicken Soup for the Soul.) I’d love you to visit my website and read some fantastic stories, or subscribe to my weekly podcast. I’m looking forward to connecting!


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