Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
I was reading today about an interesting aspect of human development that resonated with me on a spiritual level, so I thought I'd share.
When we are very small, we want to have a measure of independence from our parents or guardians. We want to stretch the limits of how far away we will wander from them in a crowd, at a park, or a store, but we don't actually want to be too far away.
As children, we want what is called object constancy, which is to say that we want to maintain our connection with our parent or guardian even as we wander a bit. When we can still see them, or know that they are there--we feel safe.
This is why children will often rush back and forth from playing on a playground to the patient parent, who is sitting nearby on a bench. They just want to be reassured the parent is still there before returning to play.
There is a lesson here for those of us who struggle sometimes to know that God is with us in our struggles and wandering: God is always near to us, no matter how far we try to wander.
I believe that embedded deep within our childlike spirit is a desire for the constancy of God. We are created with a longing for a connection with God--to know that God is there, watching over us, letting us wander a bit, but never too far.
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings: "Not all those who wander are lost." I have that quote framed and sitting in my office, so I see it every day. Now I see it a bit more clearly as an expression of my own intrinsic desire for God's presence.
I have wandered in my life. I still wander. But I think now, more than ever, I am able to feel God's presence more intensely even in my wandering.
I'm beginning to finally fully embrace the notion that God is never far away. My longing for the constancy of the ultimate Object of my affection, loyalty, and worship is just there on the other side of my earthly sight.
May you give in to your longing for God, and seek God's presence today and every day. Let yourself be found. Embrace your need to be connected with the One who not only breathed life into you, but who loves you fiercely, and gave everything to rescue you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.