For the Living of These Days—A Word from Lauren Jones Mayfield

The courage to journey through Lenten deserts, beyond temptation, to embrace vulnerability like Jesus models for us during Holy Week, well, it takes just that—courage. The courage to journey is all about the willingness to risk getting lost. And perhaps, that takes more courage than anything. For where we are lost, we are uncertain, unsteady, and in unfamiliar terrain.

In her amazing book A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit explores what lies in the land of being lost. She goes so far to argue that getting lost is actually part of living fully, and we do well to embrace this as a goal in new situations. We can summarize her work with this—Get Lost! Can you imagine? She quotes a pre-Socratic philosopher, Meno’s question, “How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?”

We who follow a God we cannot see and a Savior we do not know beyond the Spirit we trust is with us, may not have so much trouble with this quest. To find the lost sheep and the lost coin are part of our rigors of faith. And yet, what of this journey into lostness in our daily lives?

What about a redesigned Kroger store or the faulty GPS? What of an unexpected diagnosis or life change? Solnit asks one of the most pressing questions of life: How do we find the nature of that which is completely unknown? What a frightening question.

Here is the gem, and why courage is a must! She explains, “to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that it is a conscious choice, a chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography.” In this way, we find ourselves at home in the unknown.

What a paradox of faith! What a testament to the journey of Lent where we celebrate the “Mystery of God. Humanity of Jesus.” Our wanderings will always lead us home, when we find connection to our True Selves as children of this Loving Mystery.

As your journey continues this week, may you find courage, strength, and homecoming…even if you are totally lost.