The past few months have been strange for everyone. Our lives have drastically changed. One thing I’ve noticed in the past few weeks is that I feel increasingly lost.
For those of you who don’t know me personally, I don’t work an 8-5 job. I am an extrovert so I get energy and life from interacting with other people. Without friends or work right now, my days are extremely boring. I sit at home watching lots of TV. If I’m lucky I’ll take a walk, but I live in Texas and it’s getting increasingly hotter which makes me increasingly less motivated to go outside.
I still write this weekly blog, and I’ve been researching some topics for future videos, but who knows when I will make those. I also do some work for a local church, but the things I’m working on are for the Fall and Spring. I have been painting up a storm, but they’re all for fun. No one is waiting on these paintings so there’s no urgency to finish them.
What I’ve realized is I have no deadlines which feels like no goals and no purpose.
For someone as driven as me this is devastating. I LOVE making lists and having specific things to do. These days I don’t have ANY of that. I just feel like I’m wandering aimlessly with no real direction.
The same has been true in my prayer life. It is all over the place. I’ve prayed the rosary some, the Angelus at noon some. I’ve read books about saints. I’ve taken time for praise and worship. But nothing consistently, nothing that feels like a comfortable place to be with prayer.
The one thing that has been consistent the past few months is that I have been reading a lot. I’ve read some silly books about a family of bearded guys. I’ve re-read books from my pre-teen days like Artemis Fowl. (Then watched the movie and was utterly disappointed.) But the big series I’ve been reading has been the Wheel of Time series.
If you’ve never heard of it, that’s okay. Despite being nowhere near as well-known as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, it is consistently listed in the top 5 fantasy series of all time. People who like to read about magic and knights and trolls tend to really love this series. So far, I am definitely in that camp. It’s a great read.
I’m not too far into the series (especially since there are FIFTEEN BIG BOOKS in it), but so far there is a group of 7ish people all on a journey together. BUT they got split up into groups of two or three. Most of them have never been outside of their little town so they have no idea how to rejoin the group or get to their destination. They feel very lost.
Obviously I could relate to their feelings. (even if I couldn’t relate to the people chasing them and trying to kill them part…) Two of these characters were lost together and were found by a man who can speak to wolves. This part was incredibly interesting to me. The wolves were scouts, they would go ahead and look around and check for bad guys and they were very good at tracking things down and finding things.
To be fair, these are creatures in a magical book series, but real wolves are incredibly good at finding things too. Wolves have an impressive sense of smell. When they are hunting they can smell their prey from almost TWO MILES AWAY! Compared to a human’s, a wolf’s sense of smell is almost 100 times stronger. They also have a stronger sense of smell than domestic dogs, even the ones bred and trained to hunt.
This gift of smell is also very useful when finding other members of its pack. That’s right, they can detect each individual member’s specific scent. Just as humans have pheromones that help us to attract mates, wolves put out pheromones, but theirs are as unique as a human fingerprint. This enables it to be used for more than just attracting mates, it is a distinguishing characteristic. This is amazing! I know I could not tell one human apart from another by smelling their pheromones.
This heightened sense of smell really helps wolves from getting lost. It can help them find their pack. It can help them to keep on the path of their prey. There is always some small residue left that they can smell, and they can continue on their journey with a purpose.
Right now I don’t feel like I have that “small residue left”. I don’t have a road sign telling me what to do or how to act. Or at least that’s how I feel, but it turns out, that’s not true at all.
For the last few months my FAVORITE song has been “Another in the Fire” by Hillsong UNITED. I didn’t know why, but it just moved me, deeply. If you’ve never heard this song, the title is speaking of the story in the book of Daniel. There are three men who have been vetted to be warriors, but they ruffle some feathers by continuing to follow their Hebrew God and His laws. Because of their choices, they are thrown into the furnace by the King of Babylon. When in the fire, a heavenly being is sent to be with them and protect them. The King was amazed when he looked into the fire and saw four figures there instead of three. “There was another in the fire”.
What occurred to me was that God WAS with me. He was always with me. He is my guiding light. He is my “small residue left”. My faith has always told me this, and I’ve known it, but I guess in this time of isolation I’ve just kind of forgotten it.
On this journey, when I feel lost, God is there. It may seem faint to me, but He will always be there, leading me on my path. Even when I feel like “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE THE PATH IS!”, if I only look to God, He will be that guiding light. He never leaves me. Although I feel like I’m floundering, He is there to comfort me and help me keep going.
I don’t know if you have felt like this. But for those of you who have, keep going. Keep going with the confidence that God is with you and helping you to carry on, even when life feels monotonous and empty. He is with you in the fire. He is with you in everything, the easy, the hard, the boring, the confusing. If we follow Him, we will eventually get out of this funk and to the joy that we have been searching for.
“I know I will never be alone. There is another in the fire.”