from Hour of the Bees
by Lindsay Eager
My dad used to tell me I’d get lost backing out of the driveway. He was right. We lived in a Cleveland, Ohio suburb and sometimes I’d have to travel pretty far for an appointment or a meeting. Dad was always ready for a ride-along. He’d tell me where to turn and I’d get to pick out where we’d go for lunch. Perfect. Until I moved away.
Part of my problem involves paying attention. Part of my problem is that I don’t picture where I am in space very well. I may have gone to Bed, Bath, and Beyond a hundred times, but I’m still not sure whether it's past Home Depot or if that means I’ve gone too far.
I pay lots more attention now and still blow past places I’m supposed to be. But that’s little stuff I can fix. My dentist’s office is in my GPS. It’s in a house in a neighborhood and I got tired of passing it up -- in both directions -- a few times -- before I got there.
We have a beautiful park system in our county. A 20-mile creek is the centerpiece. The park itself is full of interesting bridges, roads, and hiking paths. It includes three lakes and several waterfalls and sometimes a playground with a merry-go-round.
Of course, that playground was my girls’ favorite. I’d bundle them up in the car, make sure we had plenty of gas, and head out.
I always found the park. I couldn’t always find the playground. When we drove around long enough for me to reach my frustration level, I’d tell the girls the playground was not in the park today. I’m not too sure the girls believed me. They were disappointed. So was I. Mostly I was disappointed in myself. I rationalized that the roads wound around. Many side roads led to others and others.
I always found my way out of the park. We’d go to a smaller one, closer to home and have a good enough time.
On bad days, I wonder what might have happened if I never found my way out.
Long ago, I was in such a bad place that I really *was* lost. I knew where I was in space. I knew how to get where I needed to go, but I felt like I was in the bottom of a dark, cold well. I could only think of one way out and although it was not a good way, the ultimate way out felt like a good enough way. I got the help I needed.
To avoid getting lost we can learn to read a map, ask for help, or use a navigation system. And pay attention. That really is key.
To avoid being lost is much harder. We have to always be grateful for everything: trees, clean water, sunshine, rain, snow, cool breezes, warm breezes, warm houses, the ability to use language, being allowed to vote, to laugh, to sing. . .you get the idea. We have to remember what is important. We have to stay connected to family and friends.
Although I usually think of the world on a sliding scale between black and white, good and bad, left and right, rather than as true opposites, here’s something to think about. What is the opposite of lost? confident? aware? I know it's greater than "found."