Why Bother To Notice When You Are Lost?

Why Bother To Notice When You Are Lost?

My husband knows that I am directionally challenged and how easily I get lost in new surroundings. He has experienced, more than once, waiting for me to return to him. Once, in a very large shopping mall, we parted in order to use the restrooms. When I came out, I went the wrong direction and wandered among throngs of strangers for quite a bit of time until I finally spotted my husband standing a floor above me, looking down into the pool of people for his lost wife. 

Another time, while on vacation, I went out for my usual one hour early morning run, found a quiet residential area and ran along its streets. I didn’t know there was only one entrance to this community and hopelessly looked for a way out. Finally, arriving back at our motel, my husband smiled and asked, “Did you get lost?”

Acknowledging that we have lost our way, at first, makes us feel ignorant, a little desperate and very much alone. Yet, before we can find our way back to where we started from, we have to admit that we are lost.

      Finding A Way Back

When we are truthful about lostness, our frame of mind shifts. We realize that we are no longer certain of what we thought we knew. The confidence we started with suddenly dissipates and for a time, fear descends upon us like a dark cloud. Not knowing where we are, and wondering how we will get back, may cause us to pause and assess whether or not we have what it takes to find our way back. 

My most embarrassing and lengthy lostness occurred during a family vacation with some of my grown siblings, their spouses and children. We were houseboat camping on a very large lake surrounded by a landscape of desert and sagebrush. Because the lake level was low, canyons and crevices were more exposed than usual, giving campers several opportunities for privacy in little hideaways. Though I love the water, I also need land under my feet and solitary space. So, each morning before the sun rose, I slung a small backpack over my shoulder and took off on a trek. Then, after sitting for a bit in the warm silence of the desert morning to watch the sun rise, I walked back to the boat. Except for the morning when I could not find the boat. 

Realizing that I had actually lost the houseboat, the initial feelings of ignorance, desperation, loneliness and fear engulfed me. Then, as my new reality settled in, I sat down and assessed my sources. I had a bottle of water, a granola bar, strength and resolve. Though it is debatable whether or not I should have stayed put and waited to be rescued, I chose otherwise. I spent the day hiking up and over rocks, and along the sandy heights above the lake.  I knew I would see the boat in the crevice we camped in if I got to the opposite side of the lake. At times I doubted my plan, yet, I pushed forward and before the sun set, I saw the boat. Wrapped in my husband’s embrace, I realized for the first time that those who wait for us experience similar emotions to those of us who are lost; helplessness, hopelessness, loneliness and fear. 

Why bother to notice when you are lost? It is worth noting that when we admit to our lostness, then we begin to think about how to get back to the one who waits a little desperately for us to return.