It’s so easy to get lost. You don’t have to be running errands or traveling for it to happen. Actually, you don’t even have to “know” for certain you really “are” lost to “be” lost. Mostly it’s a suspicion you have that something’s not quite the way it’s supposed to be, that things, or you, seem sort of unsettled.
Being lost is different from being confused. You know that feeling you get when you walk into a room, or open a drawer and can’t remember ‘why’ you did it? Well, being lost isn’t like that. It’s more subtle, not as obvious.
Sometimes being lost is so imperceptible you don’t even know that you are.
Being lost is a sentence without a period. It’s morning without coffee. It’s incomplete. Rationalization is an excuse we use not to have to look at something too closely for fear looking means you’ll end up having to deal with unpleasant things. Often we rationalize the sense of being lost with explanations like “I didn’t sleep well last night”, or “anyone would feel like this if they lived here”, or “I’m just stressed out like everyone else is.”
Trying to figure out why we feel the way we do isn’t easy. Sometimes looking past the surface requires full-on-excavation. Reaching the bottom of anything can mean a lot of work. But what if it didn’t? What if we could resolve most of our feelings and fears without making ourselves miserable during the process?
All anyone has to do is to be a little observant to see the world is pretty much in chaos on one level or another. And all we have to do is practice a little empathy to understand the grief and misery of others. Unfortunately, we can’t heal the wounds of the world easily, nor can any of us do it alone. But maybe we can change the way we respond when bad things happen.
Like charity, most everything begins at home, inside of us. Our hearts and souls and minds are the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. Our egos and inflated, self-important opinions are garbage, just more junk in an already overwhelming pile of useless stuff.
When we focus too much on the details of all the “bad” things we can’t change, or we compulsively “react” to them with anger or profound sadness, we throw away our power and common sense. That’s never good.
I got lost for a while. It took time to figure out that was what was going on. When I finally “got” it, I was too tired to dig for solutions. I’m old. I savor my energy for things that hold purpose in my heart, for things that make me smile on the inside. Going through another inner journey was too much to undertake.
I had to be smarter this time; I had to be careful with my time, I had to respect the realities of my health and abide by stamina restraints while still looking for a way back to the innermost sanctuary of my heart.
Every day I worked to maintain emotional strength and positive energy, especially when I heard bad news. Every day I asked God to help me find an “opening” in the resistance that disguised the entrance to the way “home”.
I practiced patience, which isn’t my strong point.
I asked again and again.
I waited some more.
I was observant, watching everything around me, listening to everything everyone said, and even those things intentionally or unintentionally left unsaid.
I watched for signs, striving to connect what happened day-to-day with a bigger, more comprehensive, more compassionate vision.
The first reward I received was an amazing sort of peace that settled on me as I worked making a Christmas gift for my sister.
That sensation proceeded other incredible instances of grace on ensuing days.
On Christmas Eve, riding in a car, on the way to visit family, suddenly I felt as if a cloud moved from the inside of my head passing into the landscape outside. Although foggy and gray, the sky unexpectedly shone with phenomenal clarity; and without warning, I understood that through some sort of inexplicable mercy, I had found my way back home.
I was at peace on a level that had been missing for far too long. Memories of battles I’d fought that seemed to have depleted me faded away and I felt strong and capable again. I felt light and full of hope. I was a helium balloon free-floating through clear, fresh air. I felt safe and sure of my place in the world. I felt needed and valued. I was in love with life again.
Maybe someday I’ll lose my way again, I hope not; but if I do, I won’t pretend nothing is wrong. I won’t waste precious time again. How I see the world and what I hold in my heart is up to me. And then, of course, there is grace. And God.