When I was a teenager, I had an opportunity to go on a weeklong summer camp with a bunch of youth from my church. I had been looking forward to this for a long time. I was also excited that my older sister would be there to show me all the great things about camp.
On the third day, the leaders took the youth that were there for the first time on a hike together. During these hikes it was intended that we would learn about nature, survival skills and the importance of staying physically active. We left early in the morning while the temperatures were still cool. After hiking for several hours we came to a spot to sit and eat lunch. As we were finishing our lunches, one of the leaders wanted to take an opportunity to teach us about some plants we would see on the trail ahead, and to warn us to stay away from a few specific ones that would cause us quite a bit of discomfort.
One of the first rules we were taught before we left on the hike was to never leave the trail. Ever! This leader felt it was quite important that we see what these plants looked like, so she led us to a little clearing that, yes, took us off the trail. Many questioned this action, but she assured us we wouldn’t be far from the trail and would continue our hike after we saw these plants.
We ended up sitting in this clearing for a longer length of time enjoying the things we were being taught. As we gathered our belongings to get back on the trail, we all became uncertain of where the trail was. Earlier, it was so obvious to the youth and leaders where the trail was. What had changed that now made us all uncertain? The sun.
We had sat for so long that the sun was in a different place in the sky, the shadows were now casting differently, our surroundings looked unfamiliar. After much discussion and some debate, one leader was certain she knew where the trail was and led us all in that direction.
We followed this trail for about 15 minutes, when something strange happened. The same pile of boulders appeared. We had just hiked in a big circle. We were lost!
How easy is it to feel lost in our daily lives? There is so much to take care of, jobs to do, people to help, changes that come, course corrections to be made and new opportunities presented. What path is the right one to take? We all face these questions. Sometimes they are easy to answer and do and other times the path is shaded and unsure.
So how do we find the path that is right for us? It is different for each of us but we often need to ask more questions to know how to get on the right path. Some of those questions include:
Where do I want to go?
Is this path comfortable and easy or do I need to take a path that can push my abilities?
What is my ultimate goal?
Does that goal align with my beliefs and values?
Being lost happens to all of us at various times and varying degrees. If we can remember
who we are, what we stand for and recognize our abilities, this can greatly help us in the next step of finding our way. Henry David Thoreau said, “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
When we find ourselves lost in our current situations, remember that thoughtful questions can lead us to understanding ourselves better and uncover needs that we haven’t yet been able to put to words. Perhaps we aren’t utilizing our abilities or are overwhelmed at the responsibilities we are carrying. We each have a divine nature in us that is seeking guidance from a higher being to direct our path. With this knowledge, is it as easy as talking about it with friends, family, or co-workers to understand a solution with the potential we hold inside?
Talking with others is one of the steps in a course correction. We aren’t meant to do it alone. We have been blessed with great instincts, and having the ability to talk it through with trusted family and friends will help us on this journey.
Within history we can see that working together brings richness to life and helps us when we feel lost. When we talk with other people, we can share ideas, get inspired and get rid of what doesn’t work or takes us off the trail – and it seems so much easier than when we’re all on our own. The Wright brothers gave us wings when they moved from working on bicycles to inventing a revolutionary way to travel by airplane. Larry Page and Sergey Brin brought the internet to our fingertips and changed the way we were able to access it. Because they were willing to talk and collaborate, paths or trails were found to connect us in a profound way.
Back on the hiking trail we were all asking questions and talking over what we needed to do next. We knelt and prayed for guidance, with the desire to get back on the right trail fast. We began walking again, all excited when we didn’t pass that familiar pile of boulders again. We stayed close together, watching for things that were familiar as we hoped we were getting closer to our campsite, and using what we knew about nature to direct us to where we needed to go.
Gratefully many youth and leaders had not finished their lunches and many had packed extra snacks, Band-Aids, and water. These extras helped cushion the hopeless feelings and kept us moving. Consider the “extras” you may see in your life that seem simple, yet bring hope when there is a feeling of being lost.
We hiked for several more hours. Throughout this part of the journey there were quiet moments of contemplation as well as open communication when decisions were being made and striving to keep spirits high in a stressful situation. We came to a high point on the trail where we were able to see a road far off in the distance. The joy that erupted at the sight of a paved road, and the hope that came rushing back are still clear memories to this day!
We had a ways to go, but the sighting of the road gave us direction, a path to pursue. As we walked down this trail, making course corrections and reassessing where we were and where we needed to be, we were feeling less lost, still not found, but we had some of our vision back.
As we came down the trail we entered onto a dirt road. This brought hopes that a vehicle could drive up at any time. We continued walking when out of nowherewe came upon a truck. As we looked around, we saw several chicken coops and a man taking care of the chickens! The placement of this little chicken farm made no sense, yet it was an answer to
our situation, desires and prayers.
We had been hiking since the early morning hours, with a lunch break and a few other small breaks and it was now growing late into the evening. We were exhausted. After talking with this man, he assured us he was familiar with the area we were camping in and had agreed to take us back to our camp site.
Did our solution come fast? No. Did we have to work to find our answers? Yes. Sometimes we are lost for a moment, other times it is a lot longer than that. It is important to ask ourselves questions to help us on the trail to reaching our goals.
Believing will also help get us back on our paths. Start today with setting goals individually or with a group by visiting https://www.believetrees.org.
At Believe, we are working to create a community that builds good. We are all on a journey of hope, we invite you to join us because we know no one should walk alone in finding what has been lost and creating purpose in our lives. Believing helps us get back on our path of purpose and meanings.