Updated: Jan 1
Unlocking the unknown
Keys symbolize our status in life. A ring full of keys summarize our life in a walnut shell. They become our everything. Just try misplacing them and see how frantic we become and how relieved we are to find them. Each jigsawed piece of metal symbolizes an entire segment of our lives. Cars, houses, vocation, recreation, treasures. Behind each one is an ocean of trust, responsibility, accomplishment. Keys signify where we spend our time, money, energy.
As I became more physically challenged, more and more responsibility was taken away. Each decline represented another rung in the ladder, another key disappearing off the key ring. Work, car, bicycle lock, tool shed. Until it was down to one key, the house key.
And it got me thinking. I had heard that when it comes right down to it there is only one key we really need anyway. The God key. I'm not sure I believed it though. St. Teresa of Avila wrote a prayer “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, those who cling to God will lack nothing. Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, God alone is enough”. I really didn’t get it at first but the more I’ve meditated on it, the more the images sprang to mind so that now I’ve come to believe it true.
Not once has God failed me but has always provided for me. When I needed a less plush couch to get out of, or shoes that fit my leg brace, or groceries to fill the fridge, they appeared. I especially remember one pair of winter boots I came across at the Army and Navy. They were $20, a forest green hiking boot with red laces. I so needed boots to keep my feet dry that winter and there they were. Or the thick bathrobe I needed because I froze when I got up in the night to write.
Or the wonderful places. The rented house on Winter Street across from the grocery store when I didn’t have a car, the apartment full of quiet seniors when I worked graveyards or the quaint cottage with a big yard and white picket fence for a dog I yearned for. Each one of them had my name stamped all over them.
And the art group. When I out grew with my high school click that I loved dearly, a replacement group found me. I happened to fall in step with three other girls on the last day of a drawing class, a Saturday morning gallery walkabout. I never noticed them during the eight weeks but we had so much fun that day, we decided to keep meeting on Thursday nights in our homes. We formed our own little art group ‘Paperviews’ and met for the next twelve years taking turns leading a weekly exercise.
And the right pets - my cat and my dog - were perfect for me. The right size and temperament. Or the right job, the right friends. I met my good friend Kathy in the dog park. Our dogs were puppies and romped that whole day. Then continued wrestling for the next nine years and Kathy is one of my best friends today.
And by the same token I gave back. I once left a brand new pair of boots in a church doorway in the downtown lower east side. They looked a little out of place and I remember feeling silly, but had such confidence they were going to the perfect home. Or the homeless guy I paid to pick up a pack of paper towels strewn about in the rain. Or the special needs guy I took on a weekend holiday.
So when I go on feeling sorry for myself that I’m down to one key, I am reminded of the farmer who, with joy, sold everything he had to buy the field because he found something of great worth. Matthew 13:46
Thank goodness I found it too and am down to one key.