Yep. Nowhere to be found.
Now, usually, I can find my keys. I just retrace my steps and there they are. But, this time, nothing.
I looked through my bag, I checked my clothes. I checked the car, but it was locked and I only lock my car with the key -- so I didn't lock my key IN the car. I looked through my bag. I checked my clothes. 5 minutes later, while his car is running and waiting, I'm still looking for my keys.
Fortunately, Blake loves me. He didn't show his frustration to me. And, then Stacy says, "are you SURE you didn't put your key in your clothes from last night." And, of course I was sure, because I checked them twice. But, just to appease her, I checked again.
And there they were.
Sort of like joy.
This last year, I've looked in all the usual places. I've gone to church. I've thanked God for his blessings. I've talked to my friends. I've played with children. Went back to search at church. I've wept with thanksgiving for God's grace. And, yet, that pure joy -- that sense of freedom that "Right here. Right now. This is where I should be, here with God and everything is the way it should be." seems so elusive.
I've had glimpses. I was selling windows to a customer in Milwaukee. And, frankly, there wasn't much selling going on. It was just laughing and talking and sharing about life in Milwaukee -- and the crazy politics and the cool festivals. I totally lost track of time, just lost in the fun of connecting with people.
I was playing with my friend Mark's 3-year-old daughter, Charlotte, just before I left on this journey. There's this circular fountain outside their apartment complex and I was chasing her. And, I was truly just myself -- laughing and giggling and chasing.
Last night, my friend Missy and I spent the day shopping and just sharing with one another about dashed dreams and creating new hopes and renewing friendships. And, then, we just got to giggling (okay, maybe there was a little wine involved), but just sharing a good time with a good friend.
I felt so free.
I keep wanting to bottle those moments. Because, I often try to create them. Sometimes I pretend that I'm being myself, because I know I should be myself. But, it's not natural. It's me trying to be me not just being me. (Is anyone thinking that I'm crazy, yet?)
But today, there it was again. I was worshipping. And, this pure, organic desire to be with God. Pure joy. I found it -- or it found me. Not that I expect that the feeling will stay. But, there it was. And, for that moment I remembered why I want to -- not should -- serve God. Why I want to be connected to His people. Why I want to be His girl -- and the opportunities He has laid in my lap that I don't want to waste.