My wife Melissa just recently bought a decoratory key chain holder for our keys. It has pretty flowers on it and it pretty much poo-poo's the notion that I as a male even live here. "So what! It's just a key holder," you say. "Whats your point weird-o?" Well, this key chain holder puts to bed an issue Missy and I have had since we got married. Where the heck to set our keys??? Well, in actuality the real issue has been less her and our keys, and more where I want her to set her keys. Now that I mention it even further, the whole issue was just me being really annoying and silly.. Let me explain...
When I come home I set my keys in the same place every time. You see I have just a smattering of obsessive compulsive tendencies. For example, when watching a sporting event I almost always have to have a baseball in my hands. I have held some sort of ball or puck in my hands during important sporting events ever since I was about 10 years old. I toss it when nervous, I squeeze it when something good happens, or I throw it into the couch cushions as hard as I can when the national semifinal ends with the ball in Trevor Cooney's unpolished hands. I'm going on 23 years of this habit and I don't see it ending anytime soon, much to my wife's chagrin- especially when she thinks I'm coming in for a kiss but am actually reaching around her to grab my baseball out of the couch cushion. There are a few others that can be discussed at another time, but just know that I have a smattering of habitual tendencies that could (or undoubtedly are) considered weird.
So when I come home I set my keys straight ahead on Missy's Grandpas antique table which sits in what I consider the foyer of our apartment-although an imaginary foyer at that. It is important to me that the keys do not lay rest in a room or in an area designated for "living." They must go in the foyer!(imaginary foyer) Missy does not agree. When she comes in she will set her keys to her immediate left, on an end table in what I consider to the be living room. I HATE them there. She can put anything else on that table-a camera, a mug, nail polish, even a list of tedious and gut wrenching chores for me to do and I am fine. But the keys? Nope.I just can't do it.
So for the 10 months we have been married, I will either come home and see the keys there in her special spot and move them to my own happy place, or we come home together and I intercept the keys and put them in my mindsets peaceful nook. I then dutifully and all so kindly ask her if she wouldn't mind from now on putting the keys in the imaginary foyer on the antique table, to which she even more kindly responds, "No thank you." This conversation has occurred probably 200 times in the past year. She has never once agreed to give into my smidgen of O.C.D, but to her credit she has never moved them back spitefully to her table after I put them on my table. In all this,one thing I have learned is I didn't marry a spineless woman- that's for sure.
Lo and behold, Miss Missy (as the kids in Sunday School call her) finally got tired of Mr. Joe's (Sunday School name) civil key wars and bought the aforementioned key chain holder, which serenely holds both sets of keys on it as I write.We have found a happy place for the keys, and for that we are both very happy.
(On a side note, I also hate having keys or anything more than whatever the weight of my current cell phone is in my pocket. They are too heavy and weigh me down. I remember a time when my dear friend Jim Carpenter disgustingly saw the size of my keyring and demanded I take keys that were not being used or hailed from an unknown origin,off my key chain. He and I spent a half hour that night picking keys off my ring. Anyways, there is a good story about not liking my keys on my person which I will share in another blog.)
Finally, this morning at 545 AM I went to grab my keys to go to work and couldn't find them. I didn't see them on my table and immediately
thought I had left them in the door on the outside of our apartment,
which I have done a handful of times before. Missy usually gives me a loving speech when that happens about how an intruder could come in and steal our ice cream as we sleep. So this morning I was thinking about how I couldn't believe I had left them in the door again and quickly prayed our ice cream was still in tact in the freezer.
But then I realized that the keys were not in the doorknob, but on our new key chain holder. I had an instant moment of contemplation and sorrow. I knew in that moment that now that we had a key chain holder, I would never have a chance to give my wife a break about where she puts her keys. Don't get me wrong, it was never a real debate or fight, but it was a chance to show selflessness in even the most petty of categories and I didn't do it. As mundane as it was, my wife wanted her keys one place and I always insisted they go another. It was an instant lesson as I looked at both sets of keys hanging from the wall- that the things I sometimes obsess about and deem important should never be more important than relating to and considering what's important to others.
I wondered how many times I had "moved the keys" on someone else in my life and missed a chance to show them that what was important was not where the keys were, but where they were as people. We waste so much time on "things" and "stuff,"making sure there is a place to safely put those things and a way to get that stuff, all the while forgetting that they are just inanimate objects with no value.
It's so easy to take people for granted and pick at things that mean nothing aside from the silly compulsions of your(my)own withering mind. But in reality, what should be easier than taking people for granted is not taking people for granted. The ones we love the most have given us the most precious keys of all-the keys to their heart. And there is no good place to set those down.