When I first lived in St. Louis as a Young Man On The Move, I found navigating the urban area quite challenging.
As a country lad, I experienced lots of space, long eyeshot, and a few significant markers to help me decide where I was at any given time. Living in one place for over twenty years was helpful, in that respect.
However, the city was a whole different thing …
For one thing, I kept confusing two similarly named major arteries, one in the city of St. Louis and the other in the county of St. Louis. Yes, we name both a city and a county the same. For another, I was just not used to the “bigness” of urban sprawl, with all the lights, all the buildings, and all the people.
One time I found myself completely lost and confused. I had made a wrong turn somewhere and was unfamiliar, even slightly with anything that I saw. To say I was a little disturbed would be right and possibly even an understatement.
By the way, this was before mobile phones, GPS, and all that other stuff which makes the idea of “getting lost” sound rather quaint. When I lost my bearings, I was lost in the true sense of the word.
However, something told me to calm down and think my way out of being lost …
As I followed my advice (for once), I happened to notice that I was driving slowly through some neighborhoods which combined exquisite architecture and stylish looks. I became curious about the history of these houses and those who lived in them. I wondered how my life and the life of those I knew differed from what these people probably experienced.
I had never seen this part of St. Louis before. As I continued to inhabit the Heartland, I grew to know it well and even had the opportunity to peek inside some of these grand houses. This early experience enhanced my understanding of the diversity and the history of my adopted hometown.
Well, this is not a particularly gripping story, but when I read the quote illustrated above, this is where my mind immediately went.
When we are lost, whether it be geographically, emotionally, or culturally, we have a tendency to panic. We encounter unfamiliar ground and shift into emergency mode. We concentrate on finding our bearings and getting away from being lost.
Every once in a while, we are smart enough to enjoy what we are learning about the world by letting go of the need to find ourselves.
What kind of “lost” are you experiencing now?
What are you telling yourself about being “lost”?
What are you noticing for the first time?
Remembering a good night long ago in the Heartland ….