Today I was lost in the forest. Literally. And as I tried to find my way out, I found myself on an adventure, in my view, synonymous with life.
I began my walk as I have done dozens of times before, but for some reason, today it seemed as if someone had moved everything around. The familiar trees, decaying stumps, the giant pines, and the road itself; everything was rearranged. I knew I was in the forest I always walk, but I was completely displaced. Sometimes don’t we wake up one day, knowing it’s our life, but feeling as if everything is unfamiliar?
It had only been about five minutes, but I was totally and utterly lost and perplexed. So, what did I do? I decided to start running, dragging along my rescued pooch, who did not seem to mind at all the fact that we had no idea where we were, or which way was home. Maybe it was because she too had been lost about a year prior, and it may have felt familiar to her. She too was wandering, running at times for over a month until the lovely people of the YMCA were able to secure her in an enclosed area. She was picked up by the local shelter, and here we were a year later roaming an area where she could have also been looking for home. Her name is now MACY; her place of rescue reshuffled to become herself in her new life.
So we’re running, and while confused, still enjoying the adventure. And after about half an hour, I realized, wait a minute. I’m really lost. Really, really lost. I had no idea where I was, and couldn’t understand how it happened. I roamed through vines, muddy places, past marshy areas, and dilapidated wooden bridges over small, hardly flowing brooks. I heard the birds, saw the squirrels, chipmunks and mosquitoes. Many, many mosquitoes. None however volunteered directions. I asked Macy to go home, our prompt when approaching the house. She stood still looking at me as if saying, this is all you lady!
And then I started to see this tale I was living as a reflection of what can happen in life. We go on our merry way, the way we’ve always lived, and then one day it seems as if someone has changed everything around, and we can’t find our way. While trying to figure out what has happened, we may run haphazardly with no success. As I walked, I tried to find the familiar, and when excitedly I thought I recognized the path, I realized that I had been mistaken. The familiar isn’t always the right path to take.
At times I thought I was moving in the right direction, just to find that I had made a giant circle that took me right back to where I was. Movement isn’t always a sign of progress.
I tried following the sun. I knew that at that time of the day I was to walk away from it to find my home. However, as I walked and looked up, I realized that a small turn on the road would completely shift my perception, and walking away from the sun wasn’t getting me to where I wanted to go. The paths at times seemed to shift abruptly, as life can sometimes do.
Then I asked for help. I asked for the forest to guide me home which got me to a road that I recognized, and thought, thank goodness! However, somehow I lost my way again. But I kept walking. Never stopped. Just kept walking.
I tried to find any clearing in the distance, for I knew if I followed the light I would come to the periphery of the forest to a place where I would be able to find my way. And eventually, two and half hours later, I got to the clearing where I knew that my adventure had come to an end.
I always knew that I would find my way back. It was never a question. I had faith that somehow I would end up where I wanted to be. The in-between, the how, the specific way was unknown. Just as in life, we don’t always know where life will lead us; the road may fork, our surroundings change, the familiar can turn strange. But that doesn’t and didn’t matter. For in the end, with clear vision, a knowing heart, a persistent foot, and maybe a Macy in hand, we, as I did, will find our way home.
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