Have you lost your way?

Sometimes we find our true and inherent selves during our youth. It is a recognition of something that at first is small within us, that we will grow into somehow. Michael Ondaatje

I have the strange habit of collecting sentences. When I read, I read with a pen. If a sentence jumps off the page, which they often do, I reference it on the white pages at the back of the book. What are all those end pages for, if not for this?

It’s embarrassing when a friend asks to borrow a book I’ve read. I feel the need to explain all those sentences and why they are there. I don’t know why really, except in that moment of reading, they captured the pieces of my heart. It’s almost impossible to borrow books from a friend. I want to underline, cross reference and draw all over them. I want to return to those pages again and again.

Sometimes other people’s sentences express exactly what I am thinking. They are the words I could not find. The letters that rolled in the pit of me like alphabet soup. As I see them beautifully strung together on the page I can breathe again. I am vindicated somehow. There’s been an agreement between myself and the author. I can move on with this new depth of revelation. It’s like that verse in Matthew 18 “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father who is in heaven.” New confidence accompanies these connections and we are reminded that God is for us, hidden in the details, waiting to be found. Every step of the way He cheers us on from the sidelines believing we’ll find our way through.

As a new year begins I’m writing out resolutions and somewhere in the list is the plan to laugh more, to do what I love, to be completely me. When you’ve spent your whole adult life married and raising children it’s possible that you’ve forgotten what it was that you loved. For so long it’s been all about your husband and the kids but he’s working through the weekend and the children call, ‘Bye Mum,’ as they slam the door behind them. Maybe like me you are left in the house without a car (because the youngest child has taken it) and it’s just you and the dog and your thoughts.

I smile, grateful that we’ve achieved the goal of raising three independent adult children and feel ready for this. I feed the dog, check the contents of my handbag and walk to the bus stop. The L90 arrives as I knew it would. After the initial panic of having no prepaid ticket, the young guy beside me reasssures me that its okay, ‘you can get a ticket on the bus on a Sunday.’ I head to the gallery, meet my sister for lunch, we learn about art and we laugh.

Along the road of my life God has been dropping clues like the bread of Hansel and Gretel. Have you discovered this too? You won’t find the crumbs if you look, they’ve been swallowed by ravens but you’ll find your way back. The answers are small within you and if you desire it they will grow.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Have you lost your way?

  1. jenexton

    Beautiful Clare. I too love the sentence that captures my thoughts so perfectly but I had never thought to write them in the back of the book – love this idea. I usually fold the corner of the page…sacrilege I know.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Love the way you’ve articulated the heart of the word-lover.. I’m feeling the agreement now šŸ™‚

  3. Wonderful words Clare, I found myself relating to so much of what you had to say in these delightful post, (except that I have not caught an L90 alone for some years, no doubt my time will come). I too write sentences down that jump out at me, underline things and dog ear the page as I go. I really don’t read a lot of books compared to some, lack of time and different priorities for me for now. However, when I do indulge myself and I find a book that speaks to me, I’ll always read it more than once and each time I do, I find different moments of connection.
    I especially loved this paragraph in your post:
    ‘Sometimes other peopleā€™s sentences express exactly what I am thinking. They are the words I could not find. The letters that rolled in the pit of me like alphabet soup. As I see them beautifully strung together on the page I can breathe again. I am vindicated somehow.’
    Thank you for sharing Clare, you words see me breathing again and laughing too.

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