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When God Closes A Door, He Opens A Better One

As part of the Voice Of A Fairsian Programme, Cheryl Teo from Secondary 4B spoke about how we should reframe our perspectives when we face setbacks and challenges. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many school events and CCA competitions were cancelled or suspended. However, as one door closes, another opens. Cheryl hopes her speech will encourage Fairsians to press on and not give up when nothing seems to be working. (This speech was delivered in July 2020 during morning assembly.)

Cheryl’s Speech

Good morning Ms Chen, Mr Lim Sin Heng, Mr Alan Lim, teachers and students. I am Cheryl Teo from Secondary 4B. Today, as part of the Voice of A Fairsian programme, I would like to share a small reflection based on my personal experience and on a book that I read recently. The book ‘All The Places To Go, How Will You Know’ is written by John Ortberg. My sharing is based on the theme ‘When God closes a door, he opens a better one.’

I would like to start my sharing with a question for everyone. Have you ever been denied an opportunity? When that happened, did you struggle to come to terms with it? Have you ever been frustrated or disheartened when a door that you wish to enter seemed to be closed?

I definitely have. Let me share my personal experience of how I entered Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary). When I was in primary school, I was lazy and unmotivated. I did not study for my Primary School Leaving Examinations. I remember sitting in my classroom as the results were being distributed. I heard many students exclaiming “Yes”. Many of my classmates scored well enough to get into their preferred schools. I was quite disappointed as I could not enter my preferred school. However, God opened the door for me to enter Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary).

Now, when I look back, I see why God chose to put me here. I realise that I’ve grown so much here in terms of character, friendship and learning attitude. Throughout my four years as a Fairsian, I have been blessed with many leadership opportunities and friends who have made school so much more bearable during stressful periods. My teachers do not focus solely on the importance of academic excellence. They also invest their time and effort into developing our character. I cannot imagine the numerous important life lessons and friendships I would have missed out on if I had been enrolled in another school.

So what’s my point?

Firstly, why do doors close and what does it mean when doors are closed?

Doors close because there is something better elsewhere. Sometimes a door remains closed because something better that we cannot yet see lies ahead of us. I would like to think that all of us are short-sighted. We tend to lament about our present situation especially if it presents challenges. Only when we look back, do we then see the benefits from that experience. Ultimately, the door to go to my dream school closed because I needed to grow not only academically, but also spiritually and in my character. God knew that I needed a nurturing, bright and gay environment to flourish, so He brought me here. I would never have encountered this door if the other door hadn’t closed first.

Secondly, why should you not give up and how should you respond to a closed door?

I believe everything that has happened or is happening has its purpose. I would like to encourage everyone to not dwell on lost opportunities and closed doors. Instead, reflect and learn from the experience and look around for other opportunities. So don’t give up. You learn more from the journey due to a closed door than you would through instant gratification.

Lastly, how is this related to our current situation, especially during COVID-19?

Many of us have had doors closed — cancelled competitions, suspension of CCAs, and being stuck at home. We can choose to dwell on the opportunities that we have lost, or we can choose to see the lessons that we can learn from the new doors that have opened up. For example, COVID-19 opened the door for me to have more time to rest, learn new skills and spend time with my parents. Though COVID-19 causes much inconvenience to everyone, I believe that it has helped us to focus on the truly important things, and be steadfast when everything around us is evolving. To my fellow Secondary 4 students who have applied for Direct School Admission and/or Early Admissions Exercise, I would like to encourage you not to feel too disheartened if your application was not successful. You might just look back in the future and be grateful that that door was closed.

In conclusion, though closed doors may be discouraging and frustrating now, we might be grateful later. I would like to leave everyone with a verse from Jeremiah 29:11, which reads, “For I know the plans I have for you - plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I hope my sharing has encouraged you!