“The beauty of the world is the mouth of a labyrinth,” writes Simone Weil. We would be foolish not to follow its call. And so we enter the labyrinth, lured by the whiff of a dream still in the making: the possibility of a new relationship, the promise of a new career, the potential for a new beginning.
We can never be sure what we will find once inside. But this much is certain: there will be times when the beauty of the world, and with it the entrance to the labyrinth, unexpectedly disappear. Some relationships will disintegrate, some careers will dissatisfy, some beginnings will disappoint. Unable to find the labyrinth’s opening, we often find ourselves in frantic search of an escape, fumbling for the next step, tiring ourselves out in the process. Disheartened, dispirited, we feel disoriented. We get lost.
The question is not whether we will get lost in life, but rather how we will move through it in faith. Will we dwell on everything that we have lost? Or will we focus instead on everything that we have yet to find?
As it happens, there is much that awaits us in our lostness. Much to be excavated examined, even exalted. In not yet knowing what will be, we are afforded the opportunity to appreciate what already is. The things hiding in plain sight. A frayed relationship, for example, may reveal our deeper needs. An unfulfilling career may motivate us to seek out a mentor. A misstart, or a misstep, may remind us of our own fragile humanity. It may claw open our hearts and sensitize us to the suffering of others.
When lost, perhaps the greatest question our faith asks of us is this: How will we be found? Once the time is ripe, the stars align, and the way begins to open, will we be ready to embrace the mystery anew? Will we choose to trust anew, to risk anew, to hope anew? Will we allow ourselves to yet again be drawn in, swept up, taken over by that magic that makes life worth living?
In the words of Simone Weil: “For if [we do] not lose courage, if [we go] on walking, it is absolutely certain that [we] will finally arrive at the center of the labyrinth. And there God is waiting....”