“Loss is simply another entrance into life.” -Joan Chittister.
It is impossible to hold on to both a new life and an old one. One must make a decision, or the two will be lost into oblivion. We cannot hold the old selves in the new life. Like the old wineskins that burst with the new wine, we burst apart when we try to hold to our old ideals when we enter our new lives. This attempt to keep the old selves is brutal, and deceiving. It is in fact impossible. Like the one who tries to stand still in a river loses footing because of how the sand washes away under her feet, trying to stand still in the passage of time ends up in crumbling to the current that is flowing around us.
So, to enter the fight upstream, or get washed down to the delta? Both have their appeal, the water at the delta is calmer, warmer, the sun is bright and there are many people around that affirm us in our “choice” in the murky waters. But to fight the current upstream, to journey and press up into the mountains, where the river runs deep, cold, clear, and clean. That is where the trees are the canopy above us and there is silence among the green cathedral.
Which to choose? Easy or better? People or purpose?
Not that there is anything wrong with either. Indeed, we are called to be with God’s people, so it may very well be that in our journey to finding ourselves it will require getting lost. In fact, that is the way it is so often.
When I move to a new place, I print out directions to where I want to go the first few months. But I must get lost a few times if I want to actually know where I am. Before, I am on a series of dependable routes that take me to the places that I am required to be. But then when I get lost, the puzzle pieces snick into place and I find myself in a vibrant community, not just a series of routes.
How do I find meaning when I am in the midst of loss? Or being lost? “Lost but now I’m found” but what does that mean? Really? Are we really stuck in a directionless quagmire? Or caught in a cacophony of instructions that we depend on others to pull us out and guide us in the right direction and for the right purposes? How do we keep from getting lost? Can we ourselves keep from getting lost, or are we just so many people lost in a land of deep darkness in need of a light to shine forth upon us? Are we ever going to learn that we cannot forge our own way, that we need to depend on the light to guide us? Or are we caught in the tunnel, seeing the false light that is not at the end, but instead rushing toward us, about to run us over.
Oh God, please do not let us so easily be deceived.