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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: A "Key Note" of Instruction
By Coleene VanTilburg


The unorganized ones are all around me. They are the ones missing wallets, who can't find tools, loose phone numbers and forget to refill prescriptions. Not me; I am on top of things. I leave myself notes. I keep certain things in their proper places. I put things away after use and have a somewhat organized way of keeping my stuff. Notebooks divide my paperwork. I know what is in my purse and what is in my book bag. I have tried my best to teach this skill, but I think sometimes these "others" are just stubborn. To me, it just seems like common sense.

Saturday afternoon, and I am off to Target. I grab my few essentials and head back to the parking lot. Snug at home, the boys are watching the NFL playoffs. I approach my SUV and put the key in the door, but the key is motionless, stiff in the lock. I check the key making sure it is the door key and not the back hatch key.

"Yep, right one. Why won’t this door open?”

Frustrated, I am thinking the back might be open since my husband was back there earlier taking some tools out. Sure enough, it was and I decided to crawl through and open my car from the inside. I am sure this wasn't a pretty sight and glad I was parked a little farther down the aisle from the main crowd. Then, as I stuck the key into the ignition, the steering wheel remained locked, the key not turning over, the engine not starting.

Praying instantly..."God, we certainly do not need car problems right now."

I did not have my cell phone, so I walked back into the store and borrowed the phone at the customer service desk.

My son answers and I proceeded to proclaim my predicament. "The car won't start...and the key doesn’t work in the lock either...is there some anti-theft device I might have accidentally turned on?"

"Mom," my son exacerbates, "Do you have the car in park?"

"Of course I do. I'm not that stupid."

Impatient, I ask for my husband. "I don't know what happened, but all of the sudden the key is deciding not to work."

My husband, frustrated as I am, wants to continue with the football game. I know I am taking him away from his rightful plans. Then that one sentence he just had to ask. "Are you sure you are using the right keys?"

That question really bothered me. How dare he assume that I would not be paying attention or figure out for myself that possibly I was using the wrong set of keys. He reluctantly said he would be right there to my rescue. Like a stubborn old goat, I clomped back to my car, climbed back into the driver’s seat and inserted the same set of keys again.


A sudden rush of embarrassment, humiliation, and downright fear overtook my over-confident demeanor. I did have the wrong keys. I had been trying to open and start the SUV with the mini van keys. Embarrassed because I had made such a drama out of the whole thing, humiliated because I had to admit my obvious lack of detail and stubbornness and disclose my dumb mistake and now fearful that I was possibly loosing my mind. I quickly borrowed the lot attendant's cell phone and called home.

"Never mind," I said to the voice on the end of the phone line, promptly hanging up so I wouldn’t have to explain at that moment.

Waiting outside were my husband, son and next-door neighbor; all three with Cheshire grins spread smugly across their faces.

"You were using the wrong keys, weren't you?" my husband smiles matter-of-factly as I exit the car. All three breakout in hysterical laughter as this goat tucks it’s tail and enters the house after admitting to an avoidable panic.

I guess it is good to laugh at our humanness once in a while. I just hope that when God is trying to tell me something, maybe to examine my own heart and motives, I do not take the same stubborn attitude I did with my family. Instead, I take the time to recognize that wisdom does not hang on the same keychain as pride.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the fool spouts folly.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 01/22/10
I've had a moment or two like that, except for I had the valet key and was trying to open the trunk. Heehee. Needless to say, it didn't work and my folks didn't figure it out until much later and by then, I'd already gotten used to opening it manually. Love the message in here, I have to agree, as someone who likes to have a nice little routine all set out, that yes...those "others" just don't seem to get it. LOL. Thanks for sharing!