Lost Keys and Unanswered Questions

When I run, I often spy along the roadside
cigarette butts, trash, nuts, bolts, roofing nails, soda bottles, random rusted metal pieces, car and house keys, broken glass, and hub caps.

Most of the things I see are eye sores. They make a mess. They look bad. They are garbage …. litter. But, their loss doesn’t count for much in the life of the one who accidentally lost or intentionally tossed the item.

The item in the list that troubles me
is “keys.”

Why do we own keys? To protect that which is precious to us.
If we cannot get inside
our home ….
our vehicle ….
our shed ….
we are troubled.

When I was at my Mom and Dad’s on Mother’s Day weekend, I came up upon this find.

I ask questions and try to figure things out.
I would hypothesize that some fisherman backed his trailer down this boat ramp around dawn.

He parked his vehicle and trailer in this line of machinery ….
and tore off across the water in his boat in search of …. something. He fished and played, fellowshipped with a friend …. with God … or just enjoyed some alone, quiet time.  And when the morning got warm, when sprinkles began to fall from the clouds, when his live well was satisfied or when the time ran out … he pulled his boat out of the water, strapped it down to the trailer and headed home.

In the bustle of loading his trailer, he sat his key chain somewhere on the boat or the trailer rather than in his pocket. As his trailer began to pick up speed heading home, his keys were thrown off onto the pavement
where they were trampled
time and time again
by other fishermen heading in the same direction.

As I ran past those keys
laying there baking in the hot morning sun on that black, rough asphalt,
I thought about the Gator fan
who would get home
and be unable to unlock his door.

I thought about how he would check his pockets
and then his vehicle
and the boat
and under and between the seats of his truck
and he wouldn’t be able to remember WHERE he had laid down his key ring.

If he didn’t live far away, he might drive back over to Jack Wingate’s restaurant and tackle store
to ask if keys had been found.
Or he might use his cell phone to call them to query.
He would be frustrated, perplexed … and locked out.

So, I turned around to pick up the rubble ….


and I ran back over to the store.
I reached across the sturdy wooden counter with my fist full of
twisted metal, broken plastic and electronic components
and dropped the useless debris into the hand of the clerk.

I said, “Ya know how you look for something for a really long time
and it bothers you when you can’t find it?
You wonder WHERE in the world the item went!
You retrace your steps in your mind and try to figure out
where you left the item?
I know that sOmE.bODy is looking for these.
Just knowing what happened to them
might be helpful.”

I explained where I had found the keys
so the clerk would have some answers …
and I turned around and headed back to my folks home.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

Those keys were a reminder of the parallel between the spiritual world and the physical one.

For some of us, figuring things out is a big deal. We won’t always find out all the answers on this side of heaven, but we ponder and question. Not everybody is built this way … but I am. And I know how hard it is to have unanswered questions. I know what it’s like to search for something lost and wonder where in the world it landed. Sometimes we may search and find answers. Other times, we may be left wondering for months or even years. And there are some questions that may never be answered.

But, in this case …
with this set of lost keys,
I knew that the simple act of gathering the debris
and taking it to a logical place
that someone else might venture to look
could allow a burning question
to be put to rest.

It was a small effort,
but it may have meant a great deal
to someone who had questions.

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