As I approached my car, dog in tow, I felt my pockets for my keys...and felt nothing. I felt all my pockets. Nothing.
Panic crept into my stomach.
I looked out at the gigantic field I had just been running around in with my dog. My keys were...Somewhere Out There.
Every day I take my pup out to this field to let her run free and roll in the grass and dig holes. Seeing her live her best puppy life lifts my spirits immensely. I have been feeling discouraged about some things, and when I go out to this field I can let my spirit breathe. I talk to God, and I watch my dog's joyful antics. I need this every day.
It was a Sunday evening, and I had spent a long time sitting in the grass, singing worship songs out in the middle of this big field, with my dog enjoying the grass next to me. I had chased her and I had run from her. When I later realized I no longer had my keys in my pocket, the task of locating them felt impossible. They could be anywhere out in that tall, dense grass.
I called my husband.
Five minutes later, he and both my teenage children showed up and began searching that field.
My people. They showed up. They didn't complain or make me feel like an idiot or an inconvenience.
First we prayed together. And then we walked that field, back and forth, back and forth, bit by bit, as the sky dimmed and the air chilled. I tried to retrace my steps for them.
"I cleaned up her poop here."
"I sat with her here."
"I ran from her here."
None of this led to the keys.
We checked in my car to make sure I actually brought them out to the field in the first place.
I felt my pockets again for the 20th time, thinking I must have missed my keys the first 19 times I checked.
After half an hour I told Seth we should give up, since I have an extra house key and an extra car key at home. He reminded me that the key fob to get into my office at work was on the missing key ring. I didn't know how I would get into the building early the next morning, and I didn't want to have to contact my boss on the weekend to ask for advice about how to get in. Ugghhhh.
I talked to God as I walked. I told Him that I knew He could lead us right to those keys, but I also knew that sometimes He used hardships to teach us something. I asked Him what I was supposed to learn. Tears dripped out of my eyes as the last of my weekend slipped away, wasted on this stupid incident.
We had been searching for an hour. I was tired. I was frustrated. I was sad. I was cold. My legs were all itchy from the tall grass.
Then Seth shouted to me. "Christi!" He had something held up victoriously in his hand. The keys!
I burst into tears. It brings tears to my eyes right now as I remember it.
It may seem like such a silly thing. Lost keys. Happens to all of us, right? But the anxiety of not knowing what I would do if we really never found them. The embarrassment of telling my boss I lost my work key. Not knowing when to call it quits and just go home on this Sunday night. All of that spilled out in my tears when I saw Seth holding up those keys. Such relief.
I trudged through the grass to him. Still crying. So grateful to set eyes on those keys. Even more grateful for Seth and my kids walking that field with me and not giving up.
Seth hugged me. He led me over to where I could see how gorgeous the sunset looked.
And we all got into our vehicles and went home.
This tiny tragedy may be a very simple example, but it reminded me that sometimes the most beautiful thing about a tragedy is the way other people show up for you. If we never experienced suffering, we would never get to see the love, sacrifice, and mere presence of others poured out for us to help us in our need.
Quite honestly, I had spent some time sitting in that field that day feeling sorry for myself about how hard things are. But when we all left that field together, I no longer felt sorry for myself. God used those ridiculous keys to remind me how very lucky I am.
I have my people.
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."