I decide I should leave by 8:30 to arrive in plenty of time for my day long interview that begins at 9:30. Thanks to my phone I know it will take me about 20 minutes to drive. I’ve never been here so I should give myself a bit more time. I gather everything I need to take with me. But, where are the car keys?
Losing car keys, even for a rental car, is not life threatening.
Frantically, for a few moments, I search. Pockets of yesterdays jeans or jacket? Suitcase? Work bag? Left at the hotel desk when I checked in? Laying near the car in the parking lot? No, I remember pushing the button to lock the car on my way into the hotel. They are big keys, what did I do with them?
In The Wisdom Way of Knowing, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that “surrender is an act of spiritual power because it opens the heart directly to the more subtle realms of spiritual Wisdom and energy.”
Meeting this day in a state of anxiousness will not serve me. I know that. I also know that I can’t find my keys. Surrender, not to give up, but to know there is more I can find here.
First, give up that I can do everything for myself. Call the chairperson of the interview committee and admit I’m not perfect and need help. Well, not in those words… I will say I’ve done something embarrassing by misplacing my car keys and need help to get to the interview on time. She isn’t answering, I’ll leave a voice mail. I’ll further admit my vulnerability to someone I don’t even know. Call the main number and ask for the administrative assistant’s number, that seems logical to get a message to the committee.
“No one by that name works here, are you sure that is the person you are looking for?” Yes, she works in this department, her name is on the itinerary. I’m connected with the chairperson’s voicemail again. I call back and the kind lady says, “Oh yes, I found out her father passed away and she is not in the office.”
Don’t be anxious, meet this with calm surrender… this is what to do.
At the hotel’s front desk, the person in charge had lost her voice. She listened as I calmly (amazing, I know) asked, I need to get to an interview by 9:30. Anyone who could take me? Wade, the security or maintenance person, cheerfully said he would pull his truck around front to pick me up.
Wade trusted me (really my phone), the one who’d lost her keys, to get him there. He wasn’t sure of the way as we navigated winding roads full of fall color and rolling hills. It was a beautiful October day and a joy to just ride and listen to his story of Wades. His father and grandfather before him were named Wade he told me, when he heard my son was named Wade too.
The main entrance was blocked due to construction but in good hands we made our way around another curve to the entrance that led directly to the building where I needed to be. Wade pulled over so I could ask a young girl who kindly directed us. I thanked him for the ride, he noted I was early and had some time; no need for hurry or be anxious.
Losing [my keys], I had to let go of outcomes that were beyond my control. Losing is giving up seeing what will happen next. Losing is ultimately not knowing, but also knowing that I must do what I have before me in the moment; where I suspend the lostness to lean into other kinds of provisions. In that surrender, I was able to notice and experience care. Paying attention to the care of hotel staff who looked out for me; the hug instead of a handshake I received from the chairperson who had listened to my voice-mail and called me to say everything would be fine; the care of one who shared his thick sweater with me when we walked outside because I forgot my coat in my hurry; and the casual conversation with the quiet one who gladly took me back to my hotel. And more… to lean into the vastness of the world around me and the abundance of God’s imagination for living.
Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or imagine.”