I’m famous for losing things. Every few days I let it be known in my home that there will be a reward for the lost item of the week. Sometimes a search ensues and said item is returned home and then I have to search for a reward I didn’t really think I’d need to award. With some things, it takes months to uncover what was out of the place I expected it to be.
The most public and I dare say humbling expereience I’ve had occured a year ago, at Camp Lutherhaven. I’d arrived and checked in for my scraptastic weekend, and was looking through my purse to find my keys. No keys. I turned my purse inside out. A super nice staff member asked if I needed help, and then proceeded to canvas camp with his equally nice dog looking for my keys.
I traced and re-traced my paths, got frustrated, then thought that maybe I had inadvertentdly locked them in my car. At which point, another super nice staff member spent at least a half an hour trying to get into my Honda Odyssey ’04 with various methods. To no success, unfortunately. Not only would no one want to steal my van, but it would be nearly impossible to anyway.
Without any progress or signs of my keys, I sat down in the room I began in to take a break and to once more look in my purse.
Do I have to tell you? Yes, I found them, in the bottom of my purse. They must have spun like a dryer avoiding my searching hands. I apologized, quite embarrassed, to my many fellow searchers. And then I kept an eye on my keys pretty closely for about the next month.
There are a million methods on Pinterest for organizing and memory tricks; and for organzing your memory. It’s just that while there are times that this happens far less than others, it’s partly part of me. The way my brain thinks and searches and processes and connects is not always a visibly connected trail of evidence.
Every time, though, when I lose something and inevitably have to ask for help, I am reminded how kind and willing to help people are. What’s my kids favorite game most days? Hide and seek. I sometimes like to forget to find them for awhile. And the times I’ve been able to go on a search to help someone find something lost, it’s been even more rewarding.
It’s like we’re wired to want to help others find.
And we really, really want to be found.
As part of this journey, I’ve been eager to take as many real journeys as I can, hitting the road to places in town and farther down the road. My longest and most recent road trip involved taking my sixth grade son to Phoenix, AZ for pre-Super Bowl week.
On the thousand mile trip home, there were a few times I questioned my method and leaned toward madness. One of those instances happened while driving north through Arizona, with the intent to push to Boise for the night. My wi-fi was out, (that could have been from that strange and weird stretch where we ended up on the Area 51 highway with no one else for miles), had no cell service, was sick of talk radio, and my son was absorbed in Godzilla or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Either way, I felt a rising panic, that knowing that I had no one to keep me awake and alert, much less interested enough to make all those miles staring me down bearable.
So after I briefly wracked my brain for anything to talk to myself about, I said,
“God, you’ve got to help me here. Please occupy my brain or I’m seriously going to lose it!”
Something out my driver side window caught my eye at that moment, a flash of white, out of place, seeming to hang in the sky. And then more, an entire ridge of white capped peaks. Was it because it was so deeply, inky dark in the middle of I don’t know where USA that those mountains stood out to me that night? Was it because they were the only thing visible, at least at eye level? The stars were a show I could watch all night, however, while driving, it is wise to keep your eyes on the horizon.
And so, I started to string some words together about what I was seeing and feeling. And then repeat them to myself, so to not forget.
And then, I searched for more to describe what I was seeing in my inner landscape. And memorized those, along with the ones before, until I had a semblance of a poem.
We did make it, just fine, exhausted, to Boise that night, before midnight. And we left the next morning from that place, still in dark. I also discovered that, indeed, I lost my small notebook, somewhere between there and home, where before I succumbed to sleep that never ending night, had painstakinly written the lines of words I found that night I saw the mountains in the dark.
Sometimes it’s really for the better and the good that we lose things, that we forget; who we were, what we thought we wanted, where we were going.
I think I’m learning that being lost on the journey can be even more satisfying, just because I know I’m already found.