Finding My Way Back Home
“I’ve often found myself lost and aimlessly wandering, barely recognizing my surroundings and sometimes even myself.”
Yesterday, I drove to Farm and Fleet to pick up grain for my horse. (These days, my store of choice is “Farm and Fleet,” where people in plaid flannel shirts and green John Deere baseball caps buy things like fence posts, tractor parts, and cow utter cream.) After I loaded 4 fifty-pound sacks of grain into the back of my pickup, I began my 20-minute jaunt home.
About 40 minutes into my drive, I realized I was in Wisconsin--which is the exact opposite direction from my home. Somehow I had gotten desperately lost. I was driving through areas I didn't recognize--back country roads far off the beaten path. "Where am I? Wisconsin?! Really? How did I get so lost?"
I pulled out my iPhone and asked Siri, "Find directions back home." Siri instantly replied, "Finding directions home." Somewhere, deep inside--in the most romantic, idealistic part of me I thought, "Wow, God, I'll bet you've got some amazing reason for allowing me to get lost once again today. Perhaps a charming, unexpected little garden store overflowing with seeds and supplies for Spring? Or maybe an enchanting woodland drive? Or a hidden estate sale?" I kept my eyes peeled eager with anticipation as I drove. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing but winding roads and Siri continually navigating, "In 500 hundred feet turn right. In 1 mile turn left...”
I'll admit, there was a part of me that felt let down. I mean, what was the purpose of THAT when I'm already feeling a bit overwhelmed with some of the stresses life has been handing me recently? Why is it that over the past months I’m continually getting lost, only to have to find my way back home over and over again? As I finally returned home and pulled into my driveway, a wave of relief rushed over me. I took in the beauty of the familiarity that surrounded me--the horse in the paddock, the barn kittens romping in the marsh, my son outside playing basketball, my daughter's smile. Then it hit me. It all made sense: sometimes we all get lost--desperately, miserably, hopelessly lost. When that happens, perhaps the most important reason for the experience is to simply know that there is always a voice, always a road that will guide and take us home.
The word home is an interesting one, isn't it? The dictionary describes it as "a place of residence or refuge, a safe place where one feels they belong." These past months, I’ve often found myself lost and aimlessly wandering, barely recognizing my surroundings and sometimes even myself. And yet, as I’ve felt distracted, confused and off-course, I’ve found that the place in which I feel most at home is in my relationship with God. My faith and trust and hope have grown. My prayer life has deepened. Yes, often in the middle of being lost (or heartbroken, depressed, anxious, misunderstood, angry, confused, or betrayed) we can trust there is always a way back home.
How do we know? How do we find our way back? For me, God continually whispers, "Melissa, listen to my voice. Follow my directions. I'll get you back. You're not really lost. Turn here. Turn there. Keep going straight. You’re almost there. Keep going. The most important thing is that you journey back to me. Welcome, my sweet girl. Welcome home."