Life Without Keys

As I put my key into the door of the Challenge Reading classroom at O Middle School for one of the last times, I realized that my key chain was shrinking. I found the key for the door with amazing speed, without fumbling through the mess of annoyingly similar shapes.

In the last two days, I’ve shed the two keys to church, my apartment key, and in a few days will be getting rid of the remaining three classroom keys and two building fobs.

My life was gradually wrapped up by threads of commitment and opportunity this past semester, and in what seems like an instant, it is unraveling. Soon all that will remain is my car key on the once blinged out but now rusty “K” key chain that my mom bought me for Christmas last year.

My safe comfortable life in La Crosse, where I have now lived for four and a half years, is coming to an end. My story with predictable plot elements is now reaching its resolution, which feels more like a cliff hanger.

I’m not sure how I feel about all of the unknowns…this world where nothing is known. I keep thinking of a blank white page. If I were a painter, it’d be a blank canvas where beautiful colors would eventually be splashed. But, I’m an English teacher. So, life is just a plain white piece of computer paper staring me blankly in the face, waiting with impatient anticipation for me to make a decision, to make a statement.

I don’t want to simply dream and write about what I want my life to be. I truly have no ideas. I have things that I think would be cool like writing a book, being on the Ellen Show, traveling to Eastern Europe, teaching overseas, meeting the love of my life… but they probably sound better in my head. Real life is messy and hard and never turns out like I’ve imagined. Usually it’s better. So, I try not to dream but rather to pray. If there is one thing I know, it’s that I have no idea what I want. I’m fickle. I’m picky. And I’m scared of a lot of things. Especially commitment.

Committing to one of my crazy fantasies, I’m pretty sure would be comparable to cliff diving. All of my ideas seem great, but they are most likely just fun to say to other people so that you can hear them talk about how interesting your life is. Cliff diving really impresses people. I have a friend who went to South Africa and jumped off a bridge that was 216 meters high, which doesn’t sound that high in meters because as Americans we can’t convert the metric system. However, I learned that it’s 709 feet high. I was impressed when I saw the video of her jumping and was even more impressed when I googled Bloukrans Bungy. I want my life to be like that.

But a jump only lasts a few seconds, or minutes if you are really brave.

I want God to write an incredible story, where He makes a bridge over steep mountains and beautiful rivers and He lays down His coat over oceans so my feet don’t get wet and holds out His hand like a true gentleman to help me over each one and we enjoy each others’ company so much that we don’t care who sees us or is impressed by how cute we are. I want my life to be filled with the dialogue of people that I’ve never met yet, and conversations over coffee with old friends. I want to give God my car key  and I want to take the risk of living with no keys at all.

God, I’m going to need some serious help.

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