About a year ago, I drove to a friend’s house to return something I’d borrowed from her. As I pulled behind her car in the driveway, I saw that her car door was opened. Puzzled by unconcerned, I shut the door and walked up her front steps to ring the doorbell. The person who met me at the door was my friend, but in a slightly different state. Her t-shirt and shorts were covered in dust. Tufts of dryer lint stuck up in waves all over her dark hair. She was frazzled and unkempt.
Before I could ask her if she was okay, my friend explained why she looked so exasperated. She had driven home, unlocked the front door, and made several trips from her car to carry groceries in to her kitchen. After a while at home, she prepared to leave again but couldn’t find her keys.
At the beginning, her search was calm. Finding the keys seemed like a guarantee. After hours of searching, she became desperate. She had even looked in the dusty nether regions behind her washer and dryer to see if they had fallen there (that explained the dryer lint in her hair). Where could they be? They had to be somewhere on her property.
I helped her look—in the pockets and hidey-holes of the car and in the endless jungle of monkey grass along the driveway. We looked behind the dresser in her entryway and under the table in the kitchen. Every time I would start to look in a new place, she would say, “I’ve already looked there but you can try again.”
Eventually, I started pulling up sofa cushions. She watched me for a moment, but left to tear apart another room, convinced it wouldn’t be behind the cushions she had already checked. When I lifted the cushion on the armchair, I heard a clinking noise. “I found them!” I yelled like I had won the lottery.
She ran in the living room to see me holding them up in the air triumphantly. We could never explain how they got there or why she didn’t see them the first time, but none of the frustration and confusion mattered once we had those keys.
I’m surprised she didn’t invite all of the neighbors in for a party like the woman in Luke 15, the parable of the woman who found the lost coin. My friend was exhausted but relieved. It went from bad story to good story, the tide had turned.
My son recently asked me what I thought heaven would be like. I fumbled an answer about how we don’t really know a lot of details but we know it will be great. Now that I think of it in light of those lost keys, I wonder if heaven will be a 24/7 celebration. Our loved ones who left earth before us will be there and we’ll be in a constant state of delight. The frustration and suffering of our mortal bodies won’t matter because we’ll be in the presence of Jesus. Every worry will melt away and we will bask in the glory of contentment and peace.
And my friend will be happy that she’ll never have to find lost keys or pick dryer lint out of her hair again.