There are keys to your heart, keys to the city and keys on a piano, but the types of keys I’m talking about are the ones on your key ring.

What’s this for?

I have keys to our condo, the car, fire box, and safety deposit box. I also have keys to the pedestrian gate, the pool and mailbox.  I have a key to my son’s house and a good friend’s condo.  So in total and without misplacing them again, I have nine keys plus those random ones in the drawer, like the one I had for my suitcase in 1975.

I never understood what a little piece of metal with teeth and a name engraved on it could mean, until a recent conversation with a dear friend. She was working with the homeless when one of them shared with her the thing they really missed was “having a key”.  Seems a strange thing to miss, but in reality it made complete sense.  Without possessions a key is needless yet means everything.  It’s a symbol of accomplishment and without one, there’s a void.  Even if you own just one, you can be proud because you ‘have’ something; an apartment, a means of transportation, or just a box that holds your mail.

To the person who has nothing, that small metal object means everything.

What a shift in perspective a piece of metal can create. I started to think of the beautiful homes I’ve visited, the pricey cars I’ve driven in and the beautiful hotels I’ve stayed at – all needed just one thing to access them – a key.  Entry to your place of work, your locker at the gym or a tool box needs just one thing – a key.  In your lifetime, think of all the keys that have touched your hands – it’s astounding and yet I know I took them all for granted after the novelty wore off.

How wonderful that this homeless person, unknowingly, handed down such a gift of gratitude for all of us; all of us who have more keys than we know what to do with. No matter what race, religion, gender, or political party you’ve been hanging out with, I think we can all agree that if you’ve ever had just one key – you’ve been blessed!

Grateful for you and that random skeleton key in my jewelry box,


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