every child’s mom’s nightmare is that instant you realize, even momentarily, that your child is lost, that you cannot see him or her. in the midst of department store racks, in a playground, on a sidewalk of a city’s busy street…you turn around for the briefest of moments and you turn back and your child is no longer right there. just the mere thought of it makes my breath uneven and my pulse race.
feeling lost can elicit the same emotions. lost-ness is disorienting and scary; it makes you want to run; it makes you freeze, your breath shallow.
i remember someone once saying to me that when you are lost to go back to where you were when you got lost. not so easy when you are out in the country on some back roads, but i don’t think they were talking about being literally lost. it was more figuratively.
i think that, in general, lost-ness begets action – sometimes any action, just to not feel the displacement. it’s unnerving. so you try to ignore it, you try to do anything to distract yourself.
the only way to go back to where you were when you got lost is to get quiet. to sit still. to go inward and slowly breathe. to realize you are human and fallible and vulnerable and that the earth is continuing to spin and, as my sweet momma used to say, “this too shall pass.” lost is also on the path to something.
when i was little i used to travel with my poppo and my big brother in an old lilco van that they bought, converted to a camper and painted pale pink (the paint must have been on sale.) her (the pink camper) name was lily, although i can’t remember how they spelled it. they would travel all over upstate new york with her. there was this one time i recall vividly. i was probably somewhere around 6 years old. i don’t remember the adventures we had after we drove upstate. what i do remember is that lily was breaking down and i could hear my dad and brother talking about it. we got off the main road and traveled down some country roads. she sputtered and died on the side of the road. not only were we lost (in my opinion) but we were sitting on the side of the road, unable to move. my dad and brother got out of the van and opened the engine hood. then they sat quietly on the white-painted-front bumper for a few minutes. my ingenious poppo got some wire-clippers out of an ever-present toolchest and he and my brother cut a few pieces of a barbed wire fence that ran the perimeter of a farm field alongside the gully next to the shoulder. using those pieces of barbed wire, with some rube goldberg kind of fix, in what seemed like an eternity but was probably only an hour or two, my dad and brother got that pink camper running again. soon we were back on the road, heading home. and – the best part – we actually got there. home.
lost doesn’t have to be a bad thing. it doesn’t have to be a six-year-old’s-version of the-end-of-the-world. it’s an opportunity. to sit quietly. to look closely at a situation. to address it. and to move on. home is waiting. in our hearts, in our minds. it may look different after a time of lost-ness, but it’s there.
SOMETIMES WHEN YOU ARE LOST…©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood