Growing up on the outskirts of Chico, above Bidwell Park, allowed for many adventures. In our teens, my brother and I would hop in the car and drive the winding dirt road to the top of the upper park. From there we would hike a trail down to Big Chico creek and proceed to negotiate the rapids, deep pools, and endless boulders downstream with our fins, mask, snorkel, and Hawaiian slings. One summer afternoon my brother Chris, good friend JT, and I had just finished a several hour excursion which covered close to one mile. As we reached the car for our dusty ride home, I realized that the car key was missing. Somewhere along the way I had been separated from it.
As the shadows of the mountain ridges were beginning to creep along the landscape. The three of us just stared at each other in disbelief. What were we going to do?
Over thousands of years Chico creek has cut a narrow gorge into the bedrock which drops straight down more than 100 feet – from rim to creek bed. Time was of the essence. We had three choices walk the trail above the gorge and start searching the area at the beginning of our swim; or walk upstream from the car and visit as many holes as we could before it got dark; or we could walk half way up (from our car) and scale down the rim on the one trail available to the creek.
Well, immediately our friend JT sized up the situation as impossible and decided to head down the road towards town with the hope of hitching a ride back. My brother and I decided to pray – knowing that right ideas can never be separated from their rightful owner’s. That car key being an idea whose rightful home was in our possession. So up the trail we walked with our eyes to the ground, hoping that the key was not somewhere down below us in one of the dozens of swimming holes we had visited earlier.
As I walked along the trail above the rim of the gorge I eliminated every fearful suggestion that screamed, “Finding this key is impossible!” I did so by knowing that there is only one God, Mind and that everything is in its right place. I confidently affirmed that, “Nothing is impossible to God.”
One of the most wonderful feelings there is, is when we are humbly listening to the “voice within” -- being quiet and obedient. I still remember the peace I felt, being spiritually led down the cliff towards the creek -- at the half way point of our adventure. I was impelled to walk directly to the 2nd pool of water below the trail’s edge. From there I waded out to the middle of the stream put my mask on and dove down to the bottom. Within my first breath or two I saw something shining faintly – it was the car key lying on its side, wedged between two rocks.
What a thrill to launch out of the water with the key in hand. Boy were we fired up! What seemed near impossible was proven to be divinely natural. No it was not dumb luck finding that key (and in such a short amount of time). I have since proved this over and over – it doesn’t matter if it is a needle in a haystack, a key in creek bed, a wallet on the subway, a tool in the everglades, or a stolen bicycle… Nothing is lost.
Yes, I’ll admit it. It was gratifying to drive upon our friend JT walking down the road. The expression on his face was priceless.