Sunday, March 01, 2009

Not all Who Wander...

"Not all those who wander are lost"
-- J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring"

"Seek and you will find."
-- Matthew 7.7, NIV

"Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it."
-- Unknown

The phrase "Not all who wander are lost" is fairly common in our culture. I've heard it used by hippies, feminists, members of the GLBT community, and others. If you think for a moment, there's a corollary: "Not all who are lost wander."

I think we all wander to some extent. I think we all seek...something. A lot of us are seeking...things we've lost. Lost innocence. Lost acceptance. Esteem lost. Love lost. (Paradise?)

It's an exceedingly romantic image, isn't it? Putting yourself out there. Leaving all the baggage and pain behind. Striking out. Seeking just for the sake of discovery. Whether we're seeking to understand ourselves or we're simply seeking what there is to find, there is a comfort in just being able to move, isn't there? In simply being able to experience, to discover, and to marvel.

And I believe there are times when such actions are very appropriate. Healing, even. If that's what it takes for a person to find peace with their individuality and their place in this world, who am I to deny that quest?

We're not just individuals, though, are we? We have responsibilities, ties, and things we must do. The mortgage must be paid, the cat must be fed, and children must be nurtured. Friendships maintained and family supported.

If we seek, we will find. We cannot find the things we've lost if we do not look for them. However, if we only search for what was lost, we may never learn to recognize the treasures that we've already found or recognize new ones lying right in front of us.

The past is over; it's gone. The only real thing you can do with it is honor the experiences that demand respect and learn from those that need to teach. Accept what was, and move on.

The future cannot be stopped. It will come. You may, perhaps, be able to guide where you will be when it gets here, but there's little sense in worrying incessantly about "what may be." You can't control the actions of others.

The present is This moment. Right now. Sense it. Experience it. Be present. Living in the moment. Feel. Smell. Hear. See. Taste. Sense. Evaluate. Judge. Choose, then act. Accept the consequences. Be responsible for your action.

Where are you now? What are you focusing on? Are you enjoying this? Are you hurting? What can you do to experience the present more fully. What can you do to make the next moment better? How about the one after that?


It's all anyone can do...really.

It is possible to wander responsibly. As you wander for yourself, remember your responsibilities to others. Share your experiences with them, if possible. Help them understand the value you gain from your search. Encourage them to wander their own path and then accept the journey they undertake for themselves.

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity"
-- Ecclesiastes 3.1, NIV

This post was inspired by this week's Sunday Scribbling's prompt: "Lost."


Photo credit: Holly Usher

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Blogger floreta said...

i like the concept that not all who are lost wander... great thoughts here.

11:38 AM  
Blogger Tumblewords: said...

Nice reminder that man is not an island...

5:04 PM  
Blogger Devyl Gyrl said...

Strength in accepting yourself is the first step in so many things.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

This is a lovely post. Thank you.

10:52 PM  

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