I am busy. I am so busy that I am forgetting things and losing things. Yesterday morning I sat down to meditate and, after three minutes, I forgot that I was meditating and jumped up and started doing something else. I am not used to being this busy but it is for a good cause: an extended visit by friends from Congo.
This is not just a personal visit but an event cementing the partnership of my congregation and another local church with a congregation in Kinshasa. The visiting Congolese will later travel, as I will, to a global gathering of Mennonites in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but they wished to come to our region first to engage in service projects with us.
Although I have a lot of help, I have been in charge of planning this. I am the one who has all the details of schedule, activities, hosting, and transportation in my head and on a constantly evolving spreadsheet–everything from who picks up the four visitors after they finish a morning of volunteering at Catholic Worker House to when and where to deliver the goats to be roasted for the fundraising dinner. And I’m doing plenty of the work, hosting, and driving myself, of course, because what are retired people for?
I am not complaining. The experience itself is rich, rewarding, and five days into a three-week endeavor, it is going well. I am capable of doing this because I am both organized and flexible. But details, and lots of French speaking, can send my brain into a fog and crowd out necessities like keeping track of my keys. I just know that somewhere along the way, when I am this busy, I will lose my keys.
It didn’t take long. On day two, after a quick trip to the grocery store, I put my keys down somewhere and couldn’t locate them when I needed to make the next emergency run just hours later.
They were not in the wooden bowl inside the back door where I usually leave them. I felt through all the cavities in my purse. My keys are large and attached to my Y card and a beaded turtle key ring, which is easy to feel. I searched my purse again and again. They were not there. I didn’t have time to search the house so I borrowed my husband’s car key. (I did remember to return it to him.)
Yesterday, however, I realized that I still hadn’t remembered to search the house for my keys, and I had to pick up Bea at the Center for the Homeless and convey her to Greencroft Retirement Center. We were on a tight schedule. I borrowed Vic’s key again.
I took Bea to Greencroft. Then we drove to my brother’s house close by, for a brief visit. After that I took Bea to my friend Vicki’s house, where all four visitors were staying for the night. And then I drove home. I used a car key five different times.
When I got home and switched off the ignition I saw that the single key I had started with, borrowed from my husband, had become my very own set of keys, turtle, Y card, and all. I do not know when this happened.
I don’t know where my keys had been hiding, or how I found them, or how I found them without being aware that I was finding them.
Fortunately, my husband’s key was still in my bag.
Some time ago I wrote about a Poltergeist who seems to visit when chaos is present. At that time I connected the chaos to a visiting toddler, my granddaughter. (She is now about to turn five and she loves the story of the missing sports bra.)
This time I’m the source of the chaos. But if Poltergeist is up to his old tricks, he proved himself once again to be a friendly ghost. He gave back the keys before I even asked.
I guess I could connect lapses like this to cognitive problems and worry about them. But I think Poltergeists are more fun, don’t you?