for all of us who have ever lost our way…
Sometime in the last decade, I got lost for a little while. It took some time for me to get to a place where I did not recognize myself or the landscape around me. But when I finally did, it had been years. Too many years.
I’m not actually sure where getting lost began. Probably somewhere in the midst of one life transition after another – all of which I underestimated their impact. To be clear though, these transitions for the most part were not the stuff of gut-wrenching tragedy. There were goodbyes, losses and disappointments, but none that would lead you to think I would lose my way. Yet I did. There were also unmistakable gifts embedded in the years of getting lost. And I almost missed them.
Every night, Polaris, or the North Star appears in the the northern skies. It sits almost directly above the northern most point on Earth. For centuries, travelers used the North Star as a guide to find their way home. They could look up into the night sky and know which way to go. It was their compass in the heavens.
If you are like me, at some point – maybe even now – you have been on a journey to find your spiritual way home. For me, when life happened and all my big plans seemed to evaporate, I looked around and realized I was in a very unfamiliar place. A place of questions, anger and even bitterness. I thought I had it all figured out, but when the struggles overwhelmed me, the landscape of my heart changed.
Today is the first of 25 reflections about my journey home to God. I’ve also included a few stories about other people and their experiences that have deeply impacted me. But they are all shared because I am learning to rest more in the faith journey rather than a list of plans and accomplishments. The one thing I keep coming back to is when Jesus had the audacity to say that “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life.” John 14:6 (The Message). Trusting those words means that finding my way home to God means moving towards Jesus. I cling to that. When nothing else makes sense, I am learning to find my way in those ten words.
For the record, I believe that it’s possible to encounter Jesus as the way, the truth and the life as a Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, skeptic, atheist, wanderer, or even as a non-spiritual person. God will take us wherever we’ve come from to where he’d love to see us go, if we will let him.
So I invite you on this journey with me. And even if you have serious doubts about Jesus’ story, or you think you’ve got too many questions or too much baggage to break through, my encouragement is to give it a try. What harm could it do to walk this road a few miles toward Christmas and see what happens? The closer you get to Bethlehem, the more likely it is that God is going to show up and show the way.