I am the last person in the world you want to ask for directions. Like Marcus Brody, the curator in Indiana Jones who could get lost in his own museum, I am an expert at losing my way. There is a reason I never earned any of the Girl Guide badges that required any form of navigation. Whether it is foreign destinations where no one speaks a lick of English, or my own neighbourhood that lived in for over twenty years, I am an expert on getting lost.
And so, even though we are staying home, I have advice on how to handle being lost.
Always pack the essentials with you. A fully charged cell phone, wallet with cash, presto card if you need to take the TTC, and hand sanitizer. Half of being lost is feeling that you have no control over anything. Having Purell gives you some modicum of control.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it is google maps or a real human being, this is not the time for pride to get in the way.
Take a moment to check out your surroundings. Appreciate what you see, even if it isn’t what you are looking for. Notice the graffiti on the wall or the interesting (though questionable) sculpture in the public park. This both helps you calm down, and is another little tidbit you keep in your brain if you get lost again.
Despite the road to Emmaus looking like a straight line, our folks were lost. Two of the many followers of Jesus who had to witness the death of their teacher, they had no road map for what would come next. There is no procedure book, no emergency protocol, no panic button that someone can press when their messiah is crucified by a tyrannical regime. All they can do is pick up one foot in front of the other, and keep moving forward.
They are so lost, they don’t even recognize Jesus in front of them! All they know is that Christ has died and this random stranger doesn’t know who he is. They feel they must tell him what has happened and all that Jesus did.After an important and lively discussion, they break bread with this man, knowing that it is important to do so, even if they can’t put their finger on why he is special.
They were lost. Truly utterly devastatingly lost. But that didn’t mean hope was lost, or love, or courage.Being lost, no longer being able to rely on your own instincts or experience, leaves you with only a few options on who to trust. Do you go with experienced guides? With a well-thumbed map, or bookmarked app on your phone? Knowing where to go when the world has been given a firm and terrifying kick is a part of our faith.
This might be happening to us all this month. We know we are called to do something, anything! To react deciseivlely and swiftly. To be leaders, and heroes.But we are dealing with something that hasn’t happened globally in over a century. The last time we had experts telling us to stay home, wear masks, and to cancel basically everything, Canada didn’t have a constitution. Women were non-persons. Don’t get me started on where we were regarding mental health and childcare.
It is okay to feel like we are in the weeds on this one- none of us are able to remember the last Great pandemic, so feeling uneasy is only natural. We are being called to do something, anything, everything at once. To listen to every health official and politician and that one aunt that keeps emailing us updates that sipping bleach is a cure (it is not!). For our mental health, our spiritual health, we need to do as Cleopas and his partner did. Embrace being lost for a minute. Take stock of how we are doing in our hearts as well as our pantries. Listen to the Spirit that will guide us through as often as we listen to the CBC, if not more. Know that we might be lost right now, but we aren’t alone. God knows exactly where we are.
Take stock of what you have. Ask for help from others. And truly absorb your surroundings. This is how we will make it through together. Amen.