I got lost this morning.
I laced up my running shoes, flipped the hood of my sweatshirt over my disheveled mop, and walked out the front door of the townhouse at exactly 0437. I jogged slowly down the street past flickering streetlights and silent cars and trucks. Even the neighbor’s dog must have been sleeping, as none of the usual frantic barking answered the sound of my soles slapping the pavement.
When I got to the first traffic light – the place where I always turn right – a little voice in the back of my head told me to turn left. Half asleep still, and with no reason to resist, I scanned the empty road for signs of life and then ran across to the sidewalk heading towards the highway.
I crossed the bridge over the interstate, turning left and then right into a part of town that I had never visited. Houses, businesses, and churches passed by me in a blur as my mind wandered. Another right turn and the icy wind cut through my sweaty clothing like a knife. It was miserable and I was shivering, but the discomfort was cathartic somehow.
Ten minutes and a few turns later, I was lost. I stood on a dimly-lit street corner beneath a sprawling willow tree, watching as the shadows of the branches played a chaotic dance on the sidewalk. Tears welled up as I stood there…tears of sorrow for recently lost relationships? Maybe it was just the bitter wind on my eyes.
Ten more minutes and I found a street I recognized. As my pounding footsteps carried me closer to home, I thought hard about the last two months, about what I had lost and what I had found. What I had gained didn’t trivialize what I had cut or let slip away, but it did justify the loss.
Lost and found, or sometimes found and then lost. Those simple sequences repeat themselves every single day in big and small ways. It’s the way life works, and it’s one of the reasons that life and love are never as easy or simple as I think they should be.
The important thing – and I’m learning this slowly – is to be able to recognize when you find what you’ve been looking for, what you have been moving towards and preparing for all your life whether you knew it or not. To recognize it, and then fight for it and never let it go…that’s what matters.