A funny story about solitary walks in cemetaries…. I keep losing my keys.
Or at least it has now happened for a second time. I don’t know what it is about cemetaries that causes me to just up and randomly drop my keys as I aimlessly walk around. But there they go and 30 minutes later when I go to get back into my car I discover that they are gone.
Yes, it is a bit of a “oh crap” and “why?” moment. It is not a pleasant thing. And have you every tried to retrace all the steps you have taken for 30 minutes when you were aimlessly just walking around? It is very difficult! But funnily I don’t panic. I mean, perhaps I panic initially. But once I realize that yes, indeed, my keys are not with me it isn’t overwhelming. Or at least this time it wasn’t.
Despite being two hours from home. Despite not having a set of spare keys. Despite preferring to actually have my keys I somehow felt calm? I can only explain it as a grace given by God – who loves me and thought of a funny way to show me His love – and He just kept me calm and certain that the keys would be found. Obivously St. Anthony was to be called upon with great pleading of “St. Anthony I’m gonna really need your help with this one. If you could just guide me to them I’ll try to listen to where you’re leading me.” And I even bothered St. Therese of Liseux – because I am reading “Story of a Soul” and may be falling in love with her awesomeness as much as Bridgette.
Not that I don’t believe in spiritual help, but on a human-pragmatic level I fortunately also had my cell phone and called Bridgette to inform her of my “plight”. She orchestrated some back up – getting two car loads of family to come to my aid. While I waited for the calvary I did a loop retracing-ish my steps — being amused on a few levels:
(1) The whole “Retrace your wandering steps” thing.
(2) I was going to have to explain this predicament shortly — as well as things I did along my walk where I could have perhaps lost my keys. Like: “Well that looked interesting so I walked to that one.” And “I cleaned this one off so it might be in this dirt?” And “I picked up a branch and threw it into the woods, so maybe I also threw the keys?”. And “A turkey came by and scared me so I maybe threw them when I jumped – or maybe the turkey took them?”
(3) God knows that I love solitary walks in cemetaries — so He said “Why don’t you do it a few times?” He really wanted me to relax today!
And then two car loads of family arrived! Hooray! And it was off to the intentional-step slow-walk races in search of the elusive keys. Yes, I explained all my thought processes and actions and took everyone on a tour of my cemetary tour. But then I was challenged – because did I wander a certain way on the first loop or the second loop? How well did I know where I had wandered?
Two sisters, two cousins, two sibling-significant others, and I walked my circular-ish path while my husband and a brother searched the car [while Bridgette watched Nora and prayed]. I was asked about Plan B. I said, “Search until they are found?” Because they had to be there somewhere, right? Because I drove the car there – so I definitely had them when I got there.
We completed the loop, but no keys were found.
I had a thought – which must be credited to St. Anthony – “The only thing I can think of is that I actually walked a little wider at this part than I thought I did.” So everyone fanned out once more – each taking a row of headstones and we methodically started re-combing the journey. Within 50 feet Emily shouted “Found them!” And everyone cheered.
I’m pretty sure St. Anthony did too – because he was trying his best but I just wasn’t doing a good job listening. Because in my head I felt like a portion of where I had gone was missing from my re-journey and my re-re-journey. For two passes thru the cemetary I kept trying to think of where that section was that I was forgetting – but I just couldn’t figure it out. There had been a headstone that I was semi-remembering but wasn’t able to place. It was perplexing and frustrating to sort of remember but not and then never find something like the thing you weren’t remembering. Well where that place was was obviously in that area where Emily found the keys – where I thought I hadn’t been, but where I really did go. Where St. Anthony was trying to lead me but I just wasn’t listening well – because when people had initially asked if I walked a certain way I had said no though I wasn’t 100% sure so why didn’t I just say “Might as well check there too!” [And if I had the journey would have ended within 2 minutes instead of 45.]
I’m sure there are like 1,000 layers of meaning and insights here that God is trying to show me. But since I’ve rambled this much already I will ramble to my main reflection and leave it at that….
What a beautiful thing life, love, and family are! What funny ways God finds to get us to notice! What simple ways He reveals the depths of love that people have. When given the opportunity people who love you will sacrifice their time and their energy to help you if you are in need. Now I know this already, right? Often people won’t hestitate to help you when you are in need, especially if you are family. But they don’t have to – they do choose to show you that they love you, in seemingly simple ways like helping you find your keys in a cemetary. And in that there is the beauty God is asking us to see.
God says: “See the love! Do you feel that love? See this little thing they came to your aid and helped you with? My love for you is like that. No matter how many times you lose your keys or you yourself get lost I will come to your aid. I love you beyond this small thing, but I love you even in this small thing. Even in this thing you may mistake for a “trial”. I want you to know my love. I want you to trust in my love. My love never fails.”
So today – When I sought solitude I found it. When I sought aid I was given it. And when God sought to send me on a circular journey three times over until His message today was made clear to me He kept me calm and guided me around and around letting me wander in loving company.
Photo Phootnote: Taken on lap #1 of the cemetary.