If you want to really effectively lose your car key, a stellar location to make the attempt is at the beach when the tide is coming in. Which of course is where I lost mine. Approximate odds of finding key in this situation: zero.
But of course I had to look. I’m not sure where that compulsion comes from, but I think it’s built into standard-model humans. I don’t know anyone who would leave the beach without searching.
I went one way and my friend went the other, and I thought, what the heck, I’ll ask St. Anthony (patron saint of finding things) and St. Jude (patron saint of lost causes, yes, seriously) for help.
I didn’t expect to find the key and knew that if it did, it would be due to great good fortune rather than any action on my part. Crediting my own finding skills amidst incoming tides and the shifting nature of sand would require some serious delusion. If my key and I were to be reunited, it had to happen because of something outside of me, but I still had my part to play. I had to walk a few miles, pay attention, and be open to the possibility of the key turning up. In other words, I had to practice faith.
I walked a couple of miles, paid attention, and maintained a steady attitude of non-expectant openness. OK, not really. I walked a half mile, forgot to pay attention, walked a little farther, started creating possible endings in my head, remembered I was supposed to be non-expectant, got really tired of paying attention after about a mile, and attempted to not to completely give up hope for the second mile.
It felt a lot like meditation, and it felt as if this is what we are called to do. Show up, pay attention, be open to wondrous happenings but not expect particular results.
We didn’t find my keys. The run was not the triumphant, pre-race workout it was supposed to be, but the time at the beach was exactly the practice I needed.