When I was in grade one or two my sister and I missed the county school bus that was to take us home. This was one of the most harrowing experiences in my childhood because I literally felt stranded. Lost. Abandoned. It was then, at six years old, that I realized how dependant I was on the responsibility and kindness of someone other than family.
I had to believe in a trust that had no time to be earned, but had to simply be believed right then and there, on the spot.
The busses would line in one big banana yellow row along the sidewalk. We’d be let off at one end of the sidewalk and walk, what seemed like mile, all the way to the front of the row to board the bus that would take us to our final destination of the day.
It was a long walk. This particular day the walk seemed even longer and more arduous because not only were we laden with handmade Christmas crafts and library books, we were also wearing our heavy purple snowsuits and cumbersome snowmobile boots. We did make it to the door of the bus, with nary a breath to spare. The door was shut tightly. So we knocked.
Then we knocked
and we knocked again.
But the driver never heard us. Instead, he drove away, oblivious to the two little girls screaming at him to wait. My sister ran after it, almost getting herself stuck in a snow bank in a valiant effort to attract the driver’s attention.
And I bawled.
Luckily the driver of the next bus recognized us, as he knew my father, and took us with his own bus to the county office where a kindly fellow in a golden coloured pick up truck drove us home. All teary and snotty looking like bedraggled lost puppies. After a tearful reunion with Mom and Dad I realized that we weren’t really lost. We knew that home was where we had to go. We just didn’t know how to get there.
Thankfully someone, some adult knew who we were and where we needed to go and made sure we got there safe and sound.
Years later, when I went to Paris for the first time, I was abandoned by the group I was traveling with. It wasn’t intentional; they just assumed I was with them. After dinner I went to use the washroom and when returned to the table the entire group had left. They assumed I was with them. The Latin Quarter. Paris. On a busy Friday night. I panicked for a minute, and then realized that I had nothing really to get anxious about. I was not really lost because I had the address of our hotel with me. All I had to do was find a way to get there.
I guess this is true throughout life. As long as you have a place to go you can’t really be lost. You may not know where you are at that particular moment. You may not even know how exactly to get to where you want to go. But if you’ve got an address in your pocket, literally or figuratively, a set destination in mind you will find your way eventually even if you panic for a minute, muck about in random directions, and rely on someone else for direction, you’ll get to where you’re meant to be.
And feeling all the stronger and more experienced because of it.