Have you ever been lost?
It was a long time ago that a dear friend told me of her experience of losing her way while walking with her dog in the Drakensberg. Her story stayed with me: firstly, because she was so affected by the experience and secondly, because it speaks to the larger metaphor of life journey.
I am directionally challenged. I have a strange penchant for turning left (never right) for no apparent reason at all. I hate reading maps. If I’m given verbal instructions they bounce off my eardrums and I don’t trust my GPS, hence, I often get lost. I’m sure most of us know that fine mix of fear and frustration as we search desperately for a familiar landmark.
|Billie, my mad rescue dog who always makes|
There are many times too, that I have lost my heart path. There are times when my heart has turned left when it should have taken a different direction. There are times when I have felt lost in a wilderness of pain, where the only way out seemed to be to stop and invite that final darkness. Somehow, there has always been something that has propelled me forward.
I am grateful for the friends (and dogs) in my life who have tugged at the edges of the darkness and brought me home. I wonder if you too have had days where you have only risen from your chair because a dog with golden eyes was licking your hand, trusting that it would be fed.
If you have been lost, don’t think about the thorns and the twisting paths, the residue of pain. Think instead about what or whom it was that brought you home. Wherever you are on your journey, I wish you a safe coming home to self. May that faithful old dog, Hope, always walk the path with you.
Anyone who has journeyed
Knows what it is to be lost:
For hours, the paths looking the same yet strange,
Travelled and untraveled memory-muddled.
Then meeting that evening Walker, the Moon,
Dragging a sack of darkness,
Empty of the stars too heavy to bear.
Behind you, the old dog,
Panting at your heels,
Believing as always, that you will find the way –
If only for him and his rough, old fur.
There are thorns ahead,
And a riverbank that will ask you
To use your small strength to lift the dog,
Heavier now than you ever remembered.
You may stop, longing for that other, Final Walker,
But the old gold eyes are watching.
Anyone who has travelled
Knows what it is to find home:
The old dog, fed and asleep,
Skin twitching as you smooth his side
To feel the thud of heart under hand.
He dreams of another walk,
You know, it was the golden eyes
That lit the path back home.