You would probably have to be living under a rock to have missed the wide variety of items boasting the quote, “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”, all marketed at the adventurous 20-30 year old traveler or hippie dreamer not that completely unlike myself.
Never being one to follow trend though, and often one to buck trends, even if I like them, on principle; I smiled noncommittally towards that woodsy mug expressing the sentiment and went about my day without much thought.
It wasn’t until later, when I found myself so completely in a place in life where I felt so swimmingly, water-over-my-head lost that my thoughts returned to it. Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost. There is the direct implication that being lost is undesirable. “I may be wandering but that doesn’t mean I’m… LOST.” That would be terrible, right?
Who wants to be lost? It implies lack of planning; it implies time wasted; it implies being in a place other than where you should be.
Or does it?
Being lost means redirection into an exciting unexplored territory. Being lost means the original plan resulted in this much better divinely appointed plan. Being lost means being exactly where you should be just not where you thought that was. Being lost means something exciting is about to happen.
When we wander into unknown waters and the water rushes over our heads and it is scary because we didn’t expect to be here and don’t know how to breathe here, we can bristle at the inconvenience or we can realize that swimming feels really nice and quite possibly much better than our original idea to sit on the shore that day.
Because, my friends, there is great freedom in letting a day fall into place as it will and enjoying it. There is great joy when we see in hindsight that the turn that felt wrong, led us to the place where our soul needed to be.
This year has been a year of “lost” for me. I needed to say goodbye to a very unhealthy relationship and in doing so, found myself a single mother to my six very young children and may I tell you that I very quickly felt those waters rush right over my head?
I laid in my childhood bed at my parent’s house, wrapped in my great grandmother’s quilt and thought, “I am so lost.”
“This isn’t where I am supposed to be right now.”
“I am wasting so much time going backwards! Here I am at 32 years old, back living with my parents until I get my feet underneath me again. I have lost my way.”
But then I want to tell you about what I saw when I stopped flailing in the water and let go of the safety raft that I had been clinging to.
I rediscovered passions that I had long since let fall to the wayside.
I forged amazing new relationships that became a grounding element in our life.
I allowed myself to dream again.
And I realized that swimming can be really good. I realized that I don’t need earth beneath my feet. That the journey can be so much more beautiful when I let go.
I still have in-over-my-head days. I am not going to tell you that I am not still treading water and gasping for air sometimes because that would be a lie. But I am going to tell you that I am wandering AND I am lost and some days it is truly incredible!
I have come to realize that forging through a forest on my own is more enjoyable than following the hiking trail.
Wasted time? I didn’t regress back to childhood living in my parent’s home to start all over again. The new path dumped me out right where I needed to be in life. Where I am today is perfect. Life isn’t a linear progression. It brought me to where I needed to be in a way that staying on the path that I had been on would never have.
It is a good place to be- being lost. It is a place of openness. A place of discovery.
So let’s get lost. We can wander and get lost and forge our own paths.
Let’s imprint that on our brushed leather travel journal.
“Let’s Get Lost”
Because losing leads to finding.