‘Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves.’ Henry David Thoreau
This is one of those hard truths that most of us will eventually learn. I will be the first to admit that getting lost is never a feel good. Being lost can be frightening, sad, frustrating… a conglomerate of all the things that we all want to avoid most….but ultimately it is the only way that we can ever make it home.
Sometimes part of our growth process is to bear witness to those around us who are lost. It is a hard thing to watch and the natural inclination is to ‘show them the way,’ when in reality the wisest thing to do is to allow them to stay lost. This is harder than it sounds, and more common than most of us realize.
It never serves us to veer from our own course and try to help someone else find their way back. It helps to remember that ‘our’ path home is never the right path for anyone else, and despite our good intentions it is always best to let others navigate their own journeys. Sometimes that means watching someone we care about flounder. Sometimes it means watching someone suffer through the consequences of their actions. Sometimes it means witnessing someone stay lost for a very long time.