By admin


Categories: celebrant musings

My Keys

My keys—do I have to give them all back?

Some open the building I helped expand with volunteers.  Some open the cave where the hydro-hammer pounded solid rock for days on end.  Some open the sanctuary where we celebrated the life of our Grammy and the marriage of our children.  Others open the back closet full of outside toys for the playground.  One opens our office where photos of the kids and grandkids share space with my clutter of files gathered over a lifetime.

Memories flood my brain…the night we knocked down the walls, the night I ran full power into the green room door and bonked my nose, the early mornings when the mama quail led the procession, the Easter Sunrise service when the sprinklers came on and drenched everyone, the day I helped build the rock wall, the time I spread with a bobcat five double-loads of dirt and almost ran over Eileen, the overnights with children and grandchildren, the week-ends of contemporary theology, the production twice of a musical play I co-wrote, the sharing in the chapel with a good friend, the very first service here on Christmas Eve, the baptisms, the confirmations, the celebrations, the good-byes.

My keychain was a gift from David Wo and it is a theater ticket to the play “Woman of the Year”.  How I miss him and his energy and his talent and his teasing.  Robin Kreider, genius of children’s programming, Bill Smith, visionary colleague, Eileen Hoard, most creative and kind woman in the world, Sharon Torrella, incredibly hard-working co-director and friend, Susan Wadell, brilliant thinker and compassionate guide, Lois Beberniss, woman of sorrow and of joy, Forrest Bachtel, wellhead of humor and wisdom—their voices echo in the halls.  Ken Heintzelman, newest creative leader and mentor and friend, whose voice carries on.  Mary Saunders, straight-talker and excellent manager, who will walk the next year with Sharon and carry the tradition into the future.  They are all here in my keys.  I can see them today.

The themes like Dare the Dream and Reach for a Rainbow and Peace by Piece, the songs like I Am the One and When You Are Aware, the rhythms of dancing and moving and drumming, the children’s voices singing and laughing–these too are in my keys.  I can hear them today.

The smell of egg rolls and pretzels, glue and monkey bread, lilies and clean dirt.  The taste of the Seder and the dinner theater and barbequed chicken on the grill while the mountain burned.  The feel of baby skin, paper-cut banners, and gooey paint.  The eight years of having a grandson here with me at least once a week, the baby footprint on the mural wall, the granddaughters participating in overnights.  With just my keys my senses can conjure them all up from a stored repository.

Some I’ve forgotten what they open.  Ancient treasures, I’m sure.  I haven’t forgotten the hurts, the angry words, the times when things were tough—but their memories are smaller and mostly forgiven.

Will I still be allowed in?  I’ll try to find a new role, a supportive role in the future drama.  I’ll work hard to be a creative and positive voice pointed intentionally to the future, not back at some remembered and closely-held past.

But is it OK if I keep my keys?