I was sitting in a house a few days ago and realized that for the first time since probably middle school, I did not have any keys. They have been handed in.
It was a weird feeling. Sort of this sense of not knowing where I belonged. I never associated simple, cut pieces of metal with a sense of security or a place to call home.
Five days ago, I returned to the United States of America, my country of birth and growing up. It's been six years and eleven months since I lived here as a resident. Entering the country caused laughter filling out the customs form.
1. It asks for your country of residence. Where am I a resident? I don't have a place to call my "home" yet, I had renounced my residency in Panama, did it now mean I was a US resident even though I hadn't technically lived here in almost seven years?
2. Occupation: I had quit my job and don't start my next one for another three weeks. Was I considered unemployed? Recently employed, but currently not? Employed but not yet working? Oh the madness! :)
As I thought about keys, I thought about getting a house key. Do any of you remember that? The moment when there was actually an extra key for you to use and you could take it with you if you were going to be out. A key of your very own (or maybe you shared it with your sister like I did). Did you have the special hiding place where your family would hide the key if you didn't take it with you? We did. Now I'm trying to recall if I can remember where we hid it.
Then getting a license and having a car key with a house key on the ring. Big stuff!
Then moving off to college and getting a room key. At Moody, we had the ID card too used as a key, an elevator key (was it the same as the room key? I can't remember), and a CPO key (mail key). The key ring grew heavier. Even when college ended, still had the car key and a house key to momma and daddy's house.
When I went off to Panama, I left home without any keys. I didn't think anything of it because soon I had a house key, classroom key, filing cabinet keys, etc.
And so I have carried a plethora of keys with me the past many years.
I handed over my Panama car keys to the family taking the car, turned in the several church keys, turned in Cheryl and my sets of house keys, and I even left my key rings behind.
In the next few weeks, I will pick up my car keys and the Lord will lead me to a place to live where I will have a key to a door that will lead to a home.
Keys - simple, cut pieces of metal. As a child, they are a source of fascination and a great teething ring and a fabulous noise maker.
As an adult, they bring this sense of responsibility, grown-up-ness, and in a way, a sense of safety.
I may not have any keys, but I do have direction, purpose, dreams, goals, hope, and a future. That is something keys can't give me.