What I didn’t realize was that my gloved hand didn’t have as firm a hold on our truck keys as I thought. When I tossed my scarf over my shoulder, my keys went sailing back behind me and landed with a soft crunch as if they'd landed in a pile of leaves, wet from the snow; indeed, that is exactly what happened. I laughed a little at myself and turned to retrieve them. Unfortunately, because my back was turned, I didn’t see where they landed. I scanned the ground and quickly realized the gravity of the situation.
The first thing I needed to do was let John know quickly that he needed to eat lunch at his office, that I wouldn’t be able to bring him home. That done, I started sifting through the great pile of leaves and snow that lay around the house. Even half the yard is huge compared to that small set of keys. I could not find any hint of where they might have been in the snow and by the time I tried to walk the yard it looked like a herd of hippopotami had trampled the area.
Not being able to think of anything else, I dragged a large trash can to the front and started going through leaves, but to no avail. After about an hour and a half I filled an entire trashcan (the size cities use now for their automatic trash collectors). Now the keys were either still in the yard or in one of those cans. I texted John.
He told me not to look any further, that we would when he returned home. I was feeling pretty stupid by this time, but I took his advice and quit looking. It was about 1:45. I lost my keys around 11:25.
My appetite was quite gone, but I ate something anyway. Being diabetic I know the dangers a person faces when they don’t eat are just as great as eating too much or eating the wrong thing.
I couldn’t get my mind off the keys laying somewhere in the yard, but it’s a funny thing: while beating myself up I also realized it could happen to anyone. Tired from looking for the keys and tired from the mental frustration, I laid down for a short rest; which wasn’t very restful.
I finally gave it up after only 20 minutes, and decided to read. I might as well since there was nothing more to do.
As I pondered the situation this morning, several things stood out to me, not least my husband’s reaction to this situation.
In this whole trial he has not even once criticized me or made fun of me. He could have said, “Why didn’t you hold the keys tighter?” or “Why didn’t you put them in your pocket?”; “You’ve made a mess here. Now we’ll never find the keys!”
All of you who know John know that things like this don’t come out of his mouth. Instead of being harsh or cruel he was kind and understanding. One thing for sure, in all of our 30 plus years of marriage, both of us have done some things that caused problems for us, but neither have either of us been harsh or critical toward the other. Understanding cultivates understanding, just as criticism cultivates recrimination. John would not have talked to me that way anymore than I would have talked to him had he pulled the Dr. Who too-long-scarf fiasco
John usually gets home about 4:30 p.m. unless he gets a last minute call and he must stay until some sort of solution has been found for the people who called in. Sometimes these last minute calls can last only five minutes, other times the call has lasted more than an hour. One never knows until one is talking to the person who has the problem. And of course, if we plan something after John gets off, it seems invariably he gets a last minute call.
So 4:30 came around and passed and still John was not home. I’m getting a little antsy knowing the short winter daylight was quickly coming to an end. Sure enough, John got home about 5:00 or 5:15 and it was too late to look. He decided he’d call in some vacation time and we’d try and look in the morning.
In this situation and in others like it, we feel comfort in knowing God has promised to turn all things to good for those who love him and are called according to his purposes. I know that he has used this situation for our good, although we might not be able to see it. It is true I may never know to what purpose losing my keys served. When it comes right down to it, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I know God is concerned with even the most minute detail of our lives; even losing keys. He cares.
And just to be clear, I am not saying God caused me to lose my keys or even that he allowed satan to cause me to lose my keys. What I am saying is that I lost my keys but he is going to use this opportunity for my good.
I realize that some people would think I tend to over spiritualize life, but really this physical existence we live is more illusion than some might realize. We walk around this life unaware just like most of the people in The Matrix were. Our life is living in the spiritual realm at the same time as the physical, but because our bodies are of this earth, it’s harder for us to see the spiritual.
One of the ways we can become stronger in our lives is to be grateful to the Lord even when it seems like we’re in a bad situation. This morning I was grateful that I lost my keys at home. What would have happened if it had happened downtown or at Wal-Mart?
Perhaps being stranded at home kept me from being involved in an accident that might have taken my life or permanently disabled me?
Or what if being stranded at home kept me from an accident that would have killed someone else?
As I walked home from walking with Melissa Green, I noticed the sun sparkling on the snow. Beneath that snow my keys are buried. I smiled. It reminded me of all the times I found a treasure in God’s Word that helped me at the exact right moment in the exact right way. I want to yell up at God and say, “How do you do that?” but really I don’t want to know. The great cosmic mystery of God speaking to me is beautiful in its secret. Do I over spiritualize my life? I don’t think so. This is how I see my reality and no one can convince me otherwise.
“But I am like an olive tree thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love. I will praise you forever O God for what you have done. I will trust in your good name in the presence of your faithful people.” Psalm 52:8-9