Thoughts about being lost

To be lost is to be free.

You can’t be lost if you’re in a cage. If you are lost, be proud. Your course is open; you can choose which way you go. To be lost is to be independent. If you are lost, you are not following another or a course marked out by another. When you are lost you can go your own way, for better or worse.

But of course, being lost is not easy. The state of being lost is a state full of unknowns and uncertainties. This can be terrifying. It can also feel meaningless; when you are lost, wandering around, able to go in any direction, life can seem aimless. It can be hard to find comfort here. It’s a challenge to find meaning in the search; to find meaning in our wanderings and explorations.

For it seems to me that, whether we like it or not, we are all lost. We are all stumbling around on this tiny planet, spinning around in a universe of inconceivable vastness, understanding only the tiniest fraction about what is out there.

But perhaps we don’t need to fear being lost. Perhaps instead, we can embrace it. Take control of our own lives and strike out in a direction we choose for ourselves or make a decision to drop anchor and make a home wherever we are. Perhaps by embracing the freedom of being lost, by striving to live truthfully and choosing our own course, perhaps in this way, we will never really be lost.

At the very least, we can find solace in knowing we don’t have to be alone in our lostness. Even when we don’t know where we’re going, we can take comfort in our connection to each other, and to the great interdependent web of which we are all a part.

David Wagoner’s poem describes this connection more beautifully than I ever could:

Lost

Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying
Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are.
You must let it find you.

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