Leaning Into The Questions

My husband brought home a wooden key holder from his parent’s house that was loaded with all kinds of old keys. He tells me that he may very well have been the one who made this, possibly as a Cub Scout project.  As I look at it I can imagine the concentration on his face as he painted it red and put the letters on it.  

The number of keys and the history of them make for some good stories. There is a collection of car keys, another that looks like keys to lock a cabinet or two… hanging on a peg that reads “garage”.  And there is this ring with all these old skeleton keys.  Those are the ones that set me to thinking of old doors and mysterious rooms and key holes that you could see through.  Squeaky hinges.  Old varnish or paint that might be peeling.  And a nail on the door frame, up high out of reach of small hands, a place to hang that key in case the door gets locked from inside.

skeleton keys

We learn at an early age that keys give you access to something, or they keep you out.  Keys to the car when you are old enough to drive.  Keys to your own house or apartment.  Keys to the office.  Access to a place, or a privilege, or information. Keys that we have to return when our job is done.

When I saw this bunch of keys the first time, I knew that there was something for me to learn here.

On my spiritual journey I have come to understand that I try too hard to find the illusive key.  In this culture of fast fixes, rapid responses, and constant information coming at us from all directions, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of having to be certain.  We think we need to have the answers.  I kept searching for the proverbial key that would unlock those answers for me.  

The questions I want to answer:  Who am I really?  And who is this Holy One?

I have been doing a lot of reading, mostly because I enjoy it, and partly because my participation in Souljourners requires it.  No, I have not found that illusive key, but I have learned something important.

Many of us are in the same awkward place, wondering who we really are as opposed to who we think we are supposed to be.  Thanks to some very brave people who have shared their stories over the centuries, I know that I am not alone.  Others have been down this path.

As much as I love reading those stories, I know now that those are not the answers to my own questions.  The stories are helping me see where to go next, pointing the way.  And I will continue to seek the wisdom of those who have gone before.  Which means I will still read books…

But the key. Ah, yes, the key that I want to find.  It does not exist.

What does exist is this Holy One who dwells within me (and you). What I am learning to do is to lean into the questions, wait in silence, and listen for the quiet voice from within.

8 Replies to “Leaning Into The Questions”

  1. I love how keys were at one time like works of art. I have only a few of them but would like to make a necklace out of them or a pin.

    I have also been on a life long search for THE key — the book, class, guru, etc. But you're right, there is no one answer and even if there were, the answer one day won't work on another day. Things are always changing and moving. That's why I've decided this year that things I'm doing like meditation I will stick to for all of 2016. No quitting because the results I want aren't evident fast enough or because another shiny thing looks like a better "key." Slow and steady, with lots of pauses in between…

    1. I always appreciate your comments, Maery. Isn't it interesting that other "shiny" things can distract us and convince us that maybe there is that one key that will get us to…whatever that may be. I like your philosophy of slow and steady with lots of pauses in between. It makes perfect sense to me.

  2. The 1807 house I lived in for a few months a couple of years ago had a front door that locked with a key exactly like one of those. The house has been sold now and I wonder if the new owners will install a modern lock – perhaps a deadbolt. As for that other "key" – the magical one that will open the door to all the answers – I no longer believe there is one. I'm content now to just be, as much as possible, in the present. Perhaps that's the key after all.

    1. I think you are on to something, Leon. Sometimes the most obvious answers are the ones we ignore because it just seems too simple. As simple as being present in the moment. Of course, we live in a culture that tries to tell us all the time that this can't possibly be true, that we need to hurry and worry and do as much as we possibly can.

      I found peace once I decided to be content, to be here now.

      Thanks for joining in the conversation!

  3. Lovely post! I think the key is in the journey, and being self-aware of what we are learning on the journey. He continually gives us clues if we will just watch and listen, and also take action. He answers most when we take some action, even if it is the wrong action, He knows we are trusting Him with the journey.

  4. I love the post and the comments, and I still love old keys like that. Our new home is just 10 years old, but our home in Chicago was more than 100. I even remember skeleton keys…

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