If you know me in real life even a little bit, you have likely experienced that I am infamous for losing my keys.
And by “losing,” I mean just this general unknowing of where they are at any given moment. I don’t actually leave them in mass transit or restaurants or what have you.
And…YES. I’ve tried the basket by the door. The hook in the kitchen. The “always” putting them back in the same purse pocket. I’ve tried laying them on top of the microwave, or my dresser, or my desk. I’ve tried it all. Believe me.
Once, someone even gave me an electronic device that would supposedly help me keep up with them. Spoiler alert: that did not work either.
I have to tell you, at 44 years old, the chances of me finding a way to prevent the morning cry of, “Gah! Where are my keys?!?” are getting real slim.
Look I get it–it must be annoying if you’ve lived with me or worked with me or even gone on vacation with me–but the thing is? It just is.
It’s just how I’m built, y’all.
I was talking to a friend the other day who struggles mightily with feeling different from those around him–and not just different, but like something is wrong with him, like maybe he’s broken. First of all, we’re all broken in one regard or another. But second of all, this person’s brain does work a bit different than most folks…but I’ll you this…he always, and I mean always, knows where his keys are.
“You know,” I said to him recently, “this is just how you’re built. It’s like you’re your own set of LEGOs…and this is what YOUR set came with.”
Y’all know what I mean by that, right? You’ve seen a box of LEGOs…not the random pieces you can free-build with, but the sets. Star Wars. Harry Potter. Volkswagens. Ships. Castles. Construction zones. Entire scenes to imagine as you build, the right pieces given to you in little bags inside the box.
Work with me here, because the metaphor isn’t perfect, but if I were a little LEGO bag, part of a 1000-plus piece set, there’d be nary a sign of keys. Hopefully, another person’s bag would have them. Or another person. I’m imagining something like the Lego Advent calendars here: Over 24 days you can construct an entire Christmas wonderland with each daily bag of LEGOs. But you have to have each bag, otherwise the scene isn’t complete. You have to do them all, otherwise you end up with Hogwarts without a Dumbledore presiding over the Yule feast. Or the Millennium Falcon wishing the Ewoks a Merry Christmas without Han. Or an intricate ice-skating scene without, I don’t know…skaters!
You have to have all the little bags to make it work. You have to have all the little sets within the big set.
Please tell me you know where I’m going with this….
You have to have all the people. All the gifts. All the ways of being. All the strengths and weaknesses. All the good and the bad and the ugly of every single living, breathing one of us to make real community, real life, real partnership, real anything at all work.
You gotta have the girl who never knows where her keys are, but who, I promise you, remembers names. And stories. And significant dates.
And you gotta have the guy who always knows where his keys are, and is insanely and beautifully calm in crisis, even if he could not tell you what he ate for breakfast that morning.
You have to have the builders. And the dreamers. And the planners. And the visionaries.
You have to have someone to ask the pragmatic questions, and someone who doesn’t care one whit about what’s practical or not. You have to have the numbers people, and the ones who can get 5 from 2 plus 2.
You have the poor and the rich right up alongside one another. The outcast and the queen bee stuck in the same line.
Let me push deeper here for a second, y’all…because yes, we arrive to this life just as we are, in many, many ways. I was born with a genetic marker for celiac disease. Nothing I did to deserve it or develop it. It just is.
But also…life forms us; shapes us; pushes against us and tears us apart and makes us whole again (maybe a bit differently, than we once were, but still, at heart, us).
Under my daughter’s bed is a giant bin full of LEGOs. They are mostly no longer specific sets. No longer sealed little bags with a certain scene in mind. They are pieces and parts from a hundred scenes gathered over the years, some of them marked and separated into Ziploc baggies, others of them loose. And man-oh-man…the things that can be imagined with it all! All the LEGOs, come together, into something else entirely.
And this is maybe the very best LEGO set of them all….
Because, we are who we are. And your LEGO set and mine came with different pieces. And maybe you’ve even put it all together perfectly near as you can tell.
But even still…yours needs mine. And mine needs yours.
Yours needs mine. And mine needs yours.
ALL the LEGOs, to build and to be what we were…what we are…meant to be.