I grew up in a small town of about 30,000 people confined to roughly 24 square miles that were mostly residential. We had a movie theater, shopping mall and a few grocery stores and that was about it. We didn’t have connected devices back then, so we had to entertain ourselves in other ways. As a newly licensed driver, I used to love driving around town intentionally trying to get lost so that I could try and figure out how to get back home. This involved turning onto unknown side streets and continuing along until I eventually came out somewhere else, recognizing where I was, and then returning to where I started from. There was no GPS back then, so it was up to me and my co-pilot to figure out a way back on our own. Sometimes it would take us a long time to figure out where we were. But after awhile the game got easier and I learned my way around all the back roads of my small town quite well. I’m doubtful that this game would be nearly as fun today with GPS enabled phones there to save the day.
I loved getting lost and I always seemed to have confidence that I’d find my way home. Thinking back on this odd pastime, I realize I’ve carried it with me into other areas of my life. Travel is certainly an obvious example and something that I love. What I love most about travelling is the exploration of a new place and the new experiences that come with it. My favorite vacations have been those where we’ve travelled from place to place, not knowing fully what we’d find when we got there. Changed by the spontaneous adventure and the people we met, we’d return home, a little bit different than when we left.
We can “get lost” in many more ways than just navigationally. We can get lost in books, relationships, health, work, just about any other area of our lives. As a free spirit, if things get mundane, I use these activities as a way to mix things up and bring excitement back into my life. Most often, we get lost on purpose, even if we don’t recognize it consciously. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning here than meeting our need for variety.
Getting lost in the search for the meaning of life and my purpose has consumed much of my time. I am realizing as I continue on this journey that getting lost is not a distraction, getting lost IS the purpose. We head out into the world and make unexpected turns, not knowing where they will take us. When we dare to lose our routines and shake our stability a bit, we are impacted by the places we visit, the people we meet and the experiences we share. We may end up temporarily lost but eventually we find our way home, and we are ________ for it. (You fill in the blank.)