Yesterday I drove to the Dailey Method studio to take class and as I got out of the car I put my gloves on and secured my hat and scarf to make sure I was protected from the sub-zero temperatures. I squeezed my keys in my right hand a couple of times—a habit that has kept me from locking myself out of my car for as long as I can remember—and then quickly shoved them into the pocket of my jacket as I walked.
I heard something fall to the sidewalk and realized that the keyring that has an easy release, the one that makes it easy for me to separate my car keys from the rest of them when I valet park, had popped open in my haste. I turned around and bent over to pick up my car keys off of the ground and realized that something huge (in importance to me, not literal size) was missing.
My copper washer custom-stamped with “FUBAR”, one of a matched set of three I had made for me and two friends (long story) had gone flying. My heart sunk immediately as I scanned the area. It was very, very cold and after a couple of minutes I gave up and ran inside for class.
Naturally, because I’m an obsessive thinker (a blessing and a curse, ugh), I couldn’t focus on my workout. All I could think about was how valuable that little piece of metal, only three-quarters of an inch in diameter, was to me because like my necklace, it was a way of keeping my far-away friends close by. I knew that I could easily order another one and that it would only cost a few dollars but I wanted THAT one, the original, back.
While I was doing my barre stretch I made the switch from feeling hopeless about it to wondering why I couldn’t go back out there and look again. After all, due to the sub-zero temperatures the only parts of the snow that were not iced over on top were where people had walked. Surely that tiny washer would have landed on an icy surface rather than in a footprint.
I bundled up and knowing I had to move quickly to prevent getting sick, traced my steps. I scanned the sidewalk in small sections and then walked along the edge of the snow. Not seeing anything remotely copper-colored, I started to doubt once again that I would ever find that little treasure. I gingerly stepped into the snow, being careful to watch where I was walking, and crouched down every couple of feet to get a closer look.
Suddenly, there it was, plain as day and glistening in the morning sun that was doing its best to peek out from the gray sky. I picked it up—after taking a picture, of course—and, overjoyed, ran to my car to get out of the cold.
The whole episode made me think about the greater lesson. How many times do we dismiss something as being impossible before we have put forth our best effort? On my way into the studio I was discouraged and assumed that I would never find that thing; I had thrown in the towel based on about two minutes of effort. Putting in the time on the way back to my car and truly believing that I would be successful provided the reward I was literally searching for. The only way to guarantee that I would have failed was to quit trying.
Sometimes the biggest lessons come in the smallest of packages.