I don’t like losing my keys. Not because of the inconvenience, or being late, or turning over every leaf and cushion to find them.
I don’t like losing my keys because of what it exposes in me.
Normally I am a fairly competent, thoughtful, productive, spiritual, kind, and generally easy-going person.
When I lose my keys, those attributes are in a danger of being exposed as a façade.
I am afraid that all of those good things about me are just a thin veneer that I am able to uphold when everything goes my way and is predicable.
You might think that I am overreacting but here is what you don’t know – I lose my keys if even one thing changes in my routine. It can be anything and it only needs to be one thing.
- Unexpectedly getting up early.
- A house guests.
- A change in plans.
- A change in weather.
- Moving furniture.
To an outsider, I might not appear to be highly structured. I am a very spontaneous person. It is the structure (thinking of a floating dock), however, that allows me to jump off into the waters of spontaneity. When I am out of sorts, I go to push off the platform and there is too much give for me to get a good launch.
It doesn’t have to be my keys. It can also be the power chord to my computer. When I have big plans to write or to be productive, but forget my power chord … it has the same effect.
Again, it is not about returning emails, or posting to Facebook, or even writing sermons … all of that can happen later. It is about what gets exposed inside of me.
When everything goes as it should – or as planned – I not just appear to be a certain way, in a sense I actually can be that way. I like being that way! I prefer it to the alternative … which is why it is so troubling when it doesn’t work.
Let me say it a different way: do you ever have a disproportionate response to a single comment?
You can have a whole conversation or enjoy an entire evening … but just one little thing gets under your skin and dominates your thoughts? Why did that one think get so much of your energy and emotion?
Is it possible that it was the one thing you hoped no one noticed, or the one thing that you are most critical of yourself and so you don’t need anyone else piling on or calling attention to it?
Disproportionate responses expose something that is going on under the surface.
This is why I am glad that we are talking about losing our keys this week. A key is so small compared to the car it starts or the house that it locks.
That small piece of metal sure carries a lot weight though. It is heavy enough to expose the façade I was trying to hold up.
Losing your keys is an opportunity for self-examination and spiritual exploration. The problem is, you usually don’t know that you have lost your keys until it is time to leave! If only you had lost your keys a half-hour before you needed them…