Where are my car keys?

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A few weeks ago, we celebrated Catacombs here at the church. What is Catacombs you ask? It is a game that is played with the youth group that essentially turns the story of the early church into a game of hide and seek. There are little theological lessons to be learned in there, but really it’s all about having some fun. We play here at the church, with all the lights turned off, all night long. As I age, this game becomes more and more difficult to participate in, my desire for a good night’s rest getting the better of me. But this is the calling, so onward I press with coffee and Red Bull in hand.

It happens every so often, the worst possible ending to a game of Catacombs. I have been through the whole church more times than I care to admit. I have made breakfast for the students. I have seen each and every last one of them off, including the ones who forgot to tell their parents to come pick them up and have thusly already extended my already long night. I wearily walk to my office, pick up my bag, and start toward the door. And as soon as my hand hits the door, I realize the profound problem I have.

I can’t find my car keys.

Mind you, I have been through EVERY. SINGLE. ROOM. IN. THE. CHURCH. Those keys could be literally anywhere. The prospect of retracing my steps is horrible. I just want to go home and sleep. Maybe I could just sleep on the couch in my office. No one would find me, right? But then eventually some sort of lightning is triggered in my brain, and I remember where I set the buggers. Hope is restored. I can go home and sleep.

It turns out that I lose my keys on the regular. I don’t know how hard it is to keep these together, but apparently it is a Herculean feat of organizational accomplishment. I used to just get super frustrated at myself. And then I got married, and Sarah started to get really frustrated at me too. But after reading an incredible book by Tish Harrison Warren called The Liturgy of the Ordinary I realized that losing ones car keys can be just another in a long line of seemingly ordinary, however spiritual, moments in life.

Tish took it in a slight different direction, thinking about confession and repentance and recognizing our faults. I have no faults (haha), so I see it a little bit differently. Losing my car keys for me is a reminder of how blessed I really am. You see, to lose car keys, one must have a car. To have a car, one must either win the lottery or have a steady job, both of which are blessings. To have a steady job, one must be healthy enough to work. All of these things are blessings. All of these things are gifts from God. To have any of it in the first place, while perhaps frustrating while it’s lost, is a gift to be celebrated.

So while it’s hard on zero hours of sleep, I try my best to whisper a little prayer every time I lose my car keys. “Thank you God for giving me something to lose.” A sense of gratitude may not help you find the lost keys any faster. But it certainly will help make the experience a little brighter.

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