“Man is the strangest of all animals. He is the only one who runs faster after he has lost his way.” — Rollo May
I expected to arrive. I pulled a corner on the emotional road map of my life and expected to see this figurative place to pull into and get off the road. A long road trip over. I thought I’d arrive and sigh a contented sigh.
Until the truth dawned. I was not where I wanted to be. I was the opposite of arrived. Lost.
My red-rimmed eyes pinched as if somehow grief had crowded out their normal occupancy in my skull. My head felt crowded, like when visitors are sleeping on your floor with suitcases strewn about. Visitors usually arrive invited. The imposition becomes a temporary exchange for the pleasantness they bring. Instead, Grief had arrived without an RSVP.
“Just who the hell let Grief in?” I demanded, the obnoxious lump in my throat leaving skid marks on my voice box.
I needed to move around a bit. There was no room for me within me.
Fresh air. Sunshine. Sweat on the lower back. Camera poised at the ready determined to see something. Anything. Look anywhere expect in there where all the churn churned and churned. Except I didn’t really click the lens. With the menu of life all around me, my taste buds were bland and pasty filled with indifference to anything of flavor.
“Direction is so much more important than speed.”
My spiritual director posted this on social media. They have a way of pissing me off without even noticing it.
Surprise. No matter how fast you move when lost, it’s difficult to enjoy anything other than being found.
I’ve come to grips with me a bit since then. I chased Grief out with a broom. The dust motes of it remained behind.
I am a sojourner who dreams of home. It’s a discontented travel, one that misses the strides in search of the destination. My spirit wanders, while my mind talks trash. My gut clenches and wags an angry fist about how fucked up it is to be caught in the middle.
Can’t we all just get along, I wonder.
And then She speaks up.
“You have what you need. I have not deprived you. But only you can decide to see it or not see it,” God says.
I wince at a stern voice.
Well… hell, I think. That blows. Once again, I’m the fucking problem all along.
Memory plays tricks. Remember this? Remember when? Like watching an old movie, you feel something vague but sweet as you recall life’s finer moments that you want back. Instances of intense intimacy when every sentiment is shared with another, when feelings expressed are joys not burdens, when every touch is electrified not cloying, when every pain is dulled the by the light of the other’s eyes that look at you that way, the way that makes you feel immortal.
This is not false sentimentality or flaccid Rom-Com prose. No, we mock what we don’t know. This could be the glimpse across to the Other Side where our full humanity meets the aspiring divinity of another. It is rare and dangerous and wholly holy, a time of transcendent coupling when the sentimentalist in me believes he can hear the angels sing.
Life can only be lived in the present tense. Memories come along for the ride. Like unexpected emotion, they clutter up the living room of the soul. Not badly all the time. Sometimes they fall in place, but I still think it best not to leave them strewn about.
The present tense feels a bit lost. Found seems still out there under a blanket of Karl The Fog. But I’ve slowed down. I’ve tried to rediscover direction instead of pace.
I’ve given this wandering about of mine a different name than “Lost.” I’m calling it “today.”
Today is fine. And so am I.