The Practice of Getting Lost – Wilderness

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Sunday Message by Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey: A big shout-out to all who brought food for the potluck on Sunday. Although I wasn’t there to enjoy it, I heard it was outstanding. The intention for the potluck on the first Sunday of the month is to give our Kitchen Team an opportunity to catch their breath. They are in service to us at least three Sundays a month, and this is our chance to say, “Thank you and we love and appreciate you” by providing the food. Well done!

I am so blessed to have a husband that not only supports me in my personal life but also supports me by speaking on Sunday when I am off playing! This past weekend was my semi-annual cousin’s weekend. It is the time when my first girl cousins on my father’s side of the family get together for the weekend. It is always a fun time, and this was no exception. There were eleven of us and we laughed and cried together as we shared stories from our childhood right up to where we are today.

Rev. LeRoy’s talk was from the book An Altar in the World written by Barbara Brown Taylor. He talked on “The Practice of Getting Lost.” Just an aside here — this is not new territory for him. I am the type of person who sees the quickest way from point A to point B and that is the route I take. Not LeRoy: He loves to explore, and often times it results in us getting lost.

Meanwhile, back to the message on Sunday: The author first issues an invitation to admit and accept that there will be times when you will be lost. It may be physically being lost because you took a road that didn’t lead to where you wanted to go. However, the type of “lost” that is more disconcerting to me is the feeling of being lost, of not knowing what I am expected to do next or what it is that seems to be hiding itself from me.

The second invitation she makes is to move from accepting being lost to actually choosing it when it happens. This is where my learning really needs to come into play. I must choose to not resist it, see that I have chosen it, and then follow the next sign in front of me.

wooded pathThe author writes: “At this advanced level, the practice of getting lost has nothing to do with wanting to go there. It is something that happens, like it or not. The advanced practice of getting lost consists of consenting to be lost, since you have no other choice. The consenting itself becomes your choice as you explore the possibility that life is for you and not against you, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.”

After accepting that getting lost will happen, and then daring to choose it, Taylor invites us to stop fighting the prospect of getting lost and to engage it as a spiritual practice. In essence, to see it not as a detour, but as the path; not just a wound, but as a gift; not a place where God is absent, but as a place where God is.

She says: “God does some of God’s best work with people who are truly, seriously lost.”

“Popular religion focuses so hard on spiritual success that we do not know the first thing about the spiritual fruits of failure/loss. When we fall ill, relationships fail, lose our jobs, we alienate or are alienated from loved ones, we are left alone to pick up the pieces. Even if we are ministered to by brave friends it can be hard to shake the shame of getting lost in our lives. Yet when we look in our lives to see what changed us for the better, a lot of those times would be wilderness times. When the safety net has split, resources are gone, the way ahead is not clear, the sudden exposure can be frightening and revealing. We spend so much of our time protecting ourselves from this exposure that a weird kind of relief can result when we fail. To lie flat on the ground with the breath knocked out of you is to find a solid resting place.”

To hear of Rev. LeRoy’s experiences, I suggest you listen to the talk.

plantingOn another note, if you haven’t noticed, the Season for the Earth team is starting their work and can use your help. There is a signup sheet on the bulletin board offering different opportunities for you to serve. It is the intention that the raised gardens will bear fresh vegetables and herbs for the use for our Sunday lunches as well as vegetables to share with the community. If you can give a couple of hours a week to planting, weeding or watering, please sign up and a member of the team will contact you.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

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