I Forgot to Leave the Keys


And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, Make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of His hand.   African Song

Living in the interior of the State of Sao Paulo meant I had to travel 600 Kilometres to the big city of Sao Paulo to exchange money. Since those dirt roads could either turn to mud or create clouds of dust that would blow through the open windows of any bus—the only option was take the train. Even so sparks from the wood burning engine would come in a window and could burn a hole in my shirt. And I’d come awake with a start. But the story of this post is something else.

Since we lived in Neves some 40 kilometres from the station, I would go the city of Rio Preto where I could catch the train. Doris with our two small children would drop me off and then return home. The vehicle we had was an old Ford Carryall that had seen better days but she had mastered the old beast. So I was not much concerned about her and our little ones getting back to Neves.

But I forgot to give her the keys to the vehicle. I might invent excuses for my carelessness related to being busy with last minute instruction. She of course had to be in charge of a number of  churches with their services and programs.  Or I could say I was flustered in just getting my ticket purchased and my suitcase in hand. In any case the keys were in my pocket as I stepped up into the train. The worse part yet is that I’d normally be away from home for more than a couple of days for I would do more than exchange money. I would check with the agent who was trying to get our car out of customs down in the port city of Santos. What a shock when well on my way on the train I discovered the keys. But then there was nothing I could do—well I could say a prayer. But such a prayer was not with much faith for the keys were in my pocket.

When Doris reached to turn on the engine there were no keys in the ignition. What was she to do? Doris says about the situation, “Well do I remember how I felt.” Of course she was unhappy for she knew hardly anyone in that city—especially someone that might be a mechanic or a locksmith. She had two small children with her and darkness was descending for the day was ending. Then she recalled me fiddling with some wires under the dash for one reason or another…perhaps to start the Carryall when there was a bad connection in the old contraption. So she began to try connections between one wire and another. I can imagine that with some of those tries, the sparks flew. Then she connected the right ones. The vehicle started and kept on running. So that was how she was able to get home.

I’m sure we both had our own stories about my being away when I arrived back in Neves. If I recall correctly I took a bus from the station back home for there would be no way Doris would want to try her luck fiddling with those wires again. Once was surely enough.  Just now as we chatted about how she got that old vehicle to start it came to mind that it must have been one of the Eternal One’s angels who were watching all the time and guided her fingers to make the right connection.



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