Dear God,

             So, imagine this. I, me, Dan Herman, The Amazing One (i.e. “What were you thinking?” to my parents), the Thing (to my sisters), Thor (to the carpenters who saw me wield a hammer), Hercules (to my children), Captain Amazing (to my wife)…Imagine this: I got lost.

             Getting lost isn’t a new thing in my life, Lord. In fact, it’s a regular occurrence.  Direction isn’t my strength.

I’m grateful you blessed me with a fine sense of theological and personal direction. I’ve always sensed your presence in my life, in even my darkest of moments. And I’ve always known, since my earliest days as an altar boy in the Catholic Church, that I wanted to minister to people.  I’ve always had a sense of personal direction: not creating TOO many obstacles for myself. I’m grateful.

             But I was blessed with nearly no physical direction. Don’t ask me what direction we’re going, and certainly don’t ask me to find my way home in the dark. Physical direction: None, Naught, Nada, Zip, Zilch, Goose eggs, Save your breath, Don’t ask. I pretty much have to guess what direction I’m looking at during a sunrise. I just don’t get it. It’s like trying to read instructions in Swahili: it’s a foreign language.

            For this reason I tried to never go into the woods alone when hunting, but my dad always told me that if I’m hunting and got lost I should shoot three times into the air and just wait for people. It finally happened when I was deer hunting one cold fall. Finding myself lost I did as my dad had taught me. I sat down and fired three shots into the air. After waiting for nearly an hour I did it over again, and then a third time. Finally someone found me, and it’s a good thing someone came because I was nearly out of arrows! (I know…it’s an old joke.)

            Ok, so no physical sense of direction: Check. Good theological direction: Check. Good personal direction: Check. So why would I feel lost in life at times?

            I grew up thinking that if I followed the stories of scripture to the best of my abilities that I’d never feel “lost” in life, and yet I’ve certainly been “lost” on more than one occasion. In fact, for a few years I made a habit of being lost in life…not that I’d recommend it.

            But maybe I’ve looked at that all wrong, Maybe having times of “feeling lost” is an important part of the process of living and growing. It’s important because it pushes me to decide where I’m going to look for direction. Perhaps that’s one of the pop quiz situations in life: “When you’re lost in the woods of life and you have no clue of which direction to turn, what do you do?” I can sit and uselessly shoot arrows into the air or I can turn to the Source of Direction, you, and rely on you to help me find the answers in life I need.

            Maybe there’s a purpose to being lost in life. First, to not rely on the illusion of self-sufficiency. And second, to trust that you’ll always be there to help me rediscover direction.

Thank you for my weakness so I may be reminded that I am strong in you. As always, thanks for listening. I love you.

Dan 

Pastoral Ponderings November 2019