Getting Lost

Voice Card  -  Volume 30  -  John Card Number 9  -  Tue, Jan 4, 1994 3:48 AM

This is ONE OF 3 responses to VC 30 Yumi 3 ("Turmoil")...

Dear Yumi:

Thank you for your voice card, which is surely among the most beautiful of '93 precisely because it is so simple and straightforward. It is hard to talk about such things without distorting them in some way.

I wish I could be of more help in your current state of "turmoil." I have been where you are now, and I eventually found my way out, yet the only directions I can give are to endure and await the healing passage of time. I can, however, make one prescription:

Read Walden. You probably don't think you have the time, but it really doesn't take that long and when you're through you will look at time in a different way and discover time you never knew you had.

You say that you "feel as if I really don't belong anywhere and that I am lost but don't know how to find myself." Perhaps the following passage (one of my favorites) will be of some use:

It is a surprising and memorable, as well as valuable experience, to be lost in the woods any time. Often in a snowstorm, even by day, one will come out upon a well-known road and yet find it impossible to tell which way leads to the village. Though he knows that he has traveled it a thousand times, he cannot recognize a feature in it, but it is as strange to him as if it were a road in Siberia.

By night, of course, the perplexity is infinitely greater. In our most trivial walks, we are constantly, though unconsciously, steering like pilots by certain well-known beacons and headlands, and if we go beyond our usual course we still carry in our minds the bearing of some neighboring cape; and not till we are completely lost, or turned around - for a man needs only to be turned round once with his eyes shut in this world to be lost - do we appreciate the vastness and strangeness of Nature.

Every man has to learn the points of compass again as often as he awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction. Not till we are lost, in other words, not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.