The Key

When I got to the entry door of our apartment complex yesterday I was met with a bit of a shock.  My key didn’t work.  First I checked to see if it was the right key – and it was.  As I stood dripping with sweat in the 100 degree heat and humidity, struggling to get into the air-conditioning, I became more and more distressed.  I pushed, and tried to turn the key.  I struggled with it.  I put more muscle into the effort.  All to no avail.  The key simply wouldn’t turn in the lock.  I was stuck.  After several minutes of working to no avail, I was thinking about walking back up to the maintenance office when I thought I would try one more time.

I put my key – the right key – back in the lock.  I paused a moment, for some crazy reason, thinking that might help.  I gently jiggled the key a slight amount, without any force — just trying everything.  Then I gently tried to turn it.  And the door opened!

Reflecting on this little jam and my final entry into the building has caused me to think of other jams that I have been in that were less successful.  Force and obstinacy are not always the best policy. Perhaps when we are up against a brick wall with someone, some job, some experience, forcing the issue is not always the best plan.  Perhaps, we might just pause for a moment and then gently proceed – without force – to try to convey our opinions, or tackle the obstacle, or continue forward in the moment.

Feeling my keys in my pocket now reminds me of this little grace.  Force is not always necessary.  Sometimes a pause, a jiggle, and a gentle turn is all that is needed.

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