The “Key” to Letting Things Go
“Did mama vacuum yesterday?” Daddy had searched all over for a missing key. We couldn’t leave without the key, he had explained to me, I was about three years old. “Yes,” I replied. He took the bag out of the vacuum cleaner, took it outside and dumped it out, and proceeded to sift through the crusty dust, dirt and grime. No key.”Are you sure mama vacuumed yesterday?” “Ummm, Maybe that was last week.” He couldn’t help but laugh. He laughed then and every time he told that story for years to come.
Daddy liked cars. Over the years, he’d collected many die-cast toy cars and trucks. One in particular was quite special, in that, he’d had it since I was a baby and it was actually a bank where you could put coins. It had a small hook for a tiny key on the bottom of the truck.
Anyone who knew my dad could tell you, he wasn’t a very organized person. He had a hard time keeping track of things. But he had kept up with that key, despite all the kids who’d played with it with him. The most recent child daddy had played cars with was Mica. She was only two when daddy landed in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital in the Fall of 2010 with severe pneumonia. It was touch-and-go. We didn’t know if he would make it.
For the first few days, the visits were excruciating for everyone involved. Daddy had a breathing tube, but was conscious. He could only communicate by pointing at a chart. The only thing that he was able to make clear was that he was miserable! Of course we visited but he hated us seeing him like in that condition.
His and my mom’s house was only minutes away from the hospital. One day after visiting, I stopped by to clean up a little. As I vacuumed, I saw a tiny, shimmering, silver object from the corner of my eye and then the horrific sound of metal being sucked into the vacuum cleaner. Of course, the truck was right there. I checked it: no key. Shoot, I must have vacuum the key daddy had kept up with for nearly 30 years! I took the bag out of the vacuum cleaner, took it outside and dumped it out, and proceeded to sift through the crusty dust, dirt and grime. And what did I find? A screw. Not a key but a screw. I went back in and finished cleaning. Sure enough, by the time I was done, the key had turned up and I sighed of relief.
The next day, daddy’s health was improving and his breathing tube had been removed. Trying to make conversation, I told him the story. As I did, he shook his head. “Don’t worry about that!” he said before I even told him it wasn’t the key that had been vacuumed. “It’s just a thing. God is number one. It’s all about loving people. That is what’s important. Things are just things“
Daddy made a miraculous recovery, then died unexpectedly a few short months later. All the personal effects he’d left behind, including the simple items as toothbrush, razor, & chap stick, were almost impossible to part with. They were his and I love him.
I am such a sentimental person. This one conversation made it possible for me to let go. Because I know how he felt. Things are just things. And no physical earthly thing is more important that loving God and loving one another.
Double Talk Quote: “I want to know if you are ready to church” – Amor to Mica (meant to say “…ready to go to church”)
Bible Verse: Matt 22:37 – 39 “…You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Term that has Lost its meaning: overly nostalgic
Relatable Lyrics: “Shimmer” by Fuel “we’ll forget the past, Maybe I’m not able. And I break at the bend… ‘Cause I have found All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade Away again”
(Twins 14 months, Mica 7)