Loss is a funny thing. Getting lost has connotations of adventure and freedom, of scurrying off the main path onto something less certain but more exciting. "Getting Lost" has this romantic vibe to it, this sense of getting away from the world, from responsibilities and stresses and losing oneself to something...unknown.
But being lost, this is something else entirely. To feel lost, one feels...without hope. Alone, lonely, unsure, uncertain, afraid. I have felt such...loss lately. In some ways, loss of my identity as an American. Not that I'm not proud of my heritage, not at all, but I find that I am confused that I no longer have a clear idea in my head what that means. I had always thought it was inclusive, loving, hard-working, accepting, many-colored, many-faiths, many-loves. I thought it was diversity that made the U.S....US.
I feel stuck, stagnated, like I'm treading through sucking mud that won't let me move. I feel that in some ways I am watching the lives of others and the world move past me, and I cannot move my feet in progress to join them.
I turn away from the news, from television, from conversations that cause me anxiety or frustration, and then feel guilty for not engaging. And then I engage in those conversations and those messages of news, and feel defeated and drained.
But what is lost can always be found. I'm not a person of specific faith, but I cannot think of loss without thinking of St. Anthony, and my grandma encouraging me to go and ask her little plastic statue of the saint. I'd approach him, like a friend, and sweetly request that he help me find my teddy bear or a book or some little trinket or another that I misplaced.
I don't know if the little plastic statue helped me find anything, but I think the hope that blossomed as a result of my asking the universe for help... this Hope made a difference.
So, until then, I will continue "getting lost" in books, in travels, in my own writing. In phone calls with friends far away and text messages with my parents and cuddled by my husband and assorted animals. I'll lose myself in happier things until I'm no longer lost.
I know a lot of us right now are feeling a little...misplaced. None of us are alone, though, so none is truly lost.
New travels on the blog next week.