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.
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.