the feeling of "LOST."

My name is C UC and I am probably more confused right now than I have ever been. I found your blog site through your myspace, and I hope I'm not intruding...don't worry this will probably be my only email, and i don't expect you to respond or even read the entire message. I have read your blogs and it is quite apparent that you are an incredibly kind-hearted humanitarian, which is one reason why I feel compelled to email you at 2 am as I cry in my apartment in UC Santa Cruz. Another reason is that I need to somehow share my feelings with someone I don't know, and I trust you.

Typically I share anything and everything with everyone, but lately I have been feeling utterly lost. I have wonderful friends and family...but I just can't. Tonight I can't seem to stop crying, and I am starting to worry about how I'm going to get out of this mindset. All of my life I have had goals: go to grade school, go to jr high, go to high school, go to a university, live in France my junior year. Next year I will have accomplished all of those goals, and I'm not sure what comes next. I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for something that would eventually become tangible, but I still don't know what that something is. I want to live to help others, but it seems like even if I spent my entire life helping, it wouldn't be enough.

In addition, I recently had my first heartbreak when I confessed my feelings to someone who I really thought I had something special with, when it turned out to be strictly friendship on his part. I'm 19 and I've never been kissed, never had a boyfriend, and I've only truly liked one person. I'm not hideously disfigured or socially inept, but I'm afraid I'll never find someone. When I read this, it sounds completely trivial compared to others' problems which are far worse, but I can't help feeling this way. I recognize that I am very blessed, but I feel so completely lost.

There is more to this feeling of hopelessness, but I can't figure out what it is. I want to thank you for your music. I really connect with Anberlin in a way I don't connect with any other artist. You are all truly my heroes. I also applaud your determination if you've made it to the end of this email. Thank you so much, venting has been beneficial. I think I'll try to sleep now, and face tomorrow when it comes.


dearest C UC
Please forgive my delay in reply as this is an important topic and wanted to put some thought into it instead of spouting off rhetoric.
What thought you must have poured into this, in a world where we have so many distractions to keep us from what truly matters (TV, music, DVD’s, books, etc.) you have thought to SEEK out truth, a vanishing art in our generation.

“Lost”; what an amazing task. To say you are lost, you are presupposing that you were either once “found” or were on a course and became lost, presupposing that you are on a destination to become found. The task is to figure out which, if either you subscribe to.
First we must look at the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN FEELING THIS! You are not the first to feel this way and you will not be the last. The majority of those who seek face this feeling at one point or another, and it’s totally natural. Let’s go back in history and look at a story found in the Talmud (the Jewish holy book). Here a man by the name of Elijah had just single-handedly won a great victory (1 Kings 18) in the name of Yahweh (God) and had defeated all the other pagan priests and stopped the oppression of his people temporarily. A local government official (Jezebel) threatened Elijah’s life and he fled. While hiding from Jezebel Elijah was tormented with being alone in his belief’s and in life. While talking with Yahweh Elijah twice told God that, “I am alone, I alone am left.” God reassured him that this wasn’t the case as there were 7,000 people just like him in the city, and to return. Feelings of being alone (as in this case), feelings of what’s next, of where I belong, what do I want to be, what do others want me to be, etc. are nothing new. You are human and on a course, YOU ARE NOT ALONE; these are questions we all have to answer.

Next, realize that your feeling of being lost is a clear sign that you are on the right path. Siddhartha Gautama was born around 563 B.C. in what is now known as Nepal, near the India border. He was born into a wealthy family and was of royalty and did not travel outside of the walls of his castle. He was a handsome, short young man and was heir to his father’s throne. Because of a prophecy his dad received about young Siddhartha’s life he made sure that his son had all the worldly pleasure at his fingertips and was never allowed to see death, disease, or decay. But Siddhartha became tiresome of living in the castle walls day in and day out. Finally traveling outside he saw old decrepit man with broken teeth, the next trip he saw a body racked with disease, the next ride he saw a corpse, and on the final ride he saw a monk with a shaven head and ochre robe, and It was on that day that he learned of the life of withdrawing from the worldly pleasures. He felt “lost”, and eventually set out on his own leaving behind the power, fame, and worldly pleasures he once knew. Many hardships made him into what he became over his life, including lack of food/water, literally being lost in the dessert, beaten, and persecuted for his new belief system. He later claimed to have been enlightened because of these hardships and we know him now in the western culture simply as Buddha. But you see he had to feel “lost” to discover “enlightenment.” So feeling lost is not a bad thing at all but the beginning of the discovery of life itself and where you fit in it.

This is life my dear, it’s not always easy. Some say it is a journey, but that begs the question to say that life has a clear end and you have then reached your destination. I don’t believe this to be true because this implies that death is the destination, and I don’t know about you but death is not something I am concerning myself with at this present time, nor am actively seeking out. I believe life is just that… life. You live it and you learn from it. There are two paths, one for those who choose to live a mediocre life and float along and never make anything of themselves. And then there are those that choose to find there passion and go after it with all their heart.

I’m sure the next thought for some of you is “but I don’t know my passion!” and that is human too, that’s why you need to go experience this world by learning, educating yourself, seeking, traveling, growing, and finding/standing for what you believe in. Passion is innate, find something you love and go after it, and don’t be intimidated by finances or what others may think, you must believe in yourself and search. Realize that this feeling of lost doesn’t go away after you found something you love, you will always have questions, there will never be answers every time, but that is the adventure of life.

I still feel lost from time to time. I constantly wonder if I am doing the right thing in life, or if I am on the wrong path. But that is where trust and faith come in. For me, having the feeling of “lost” takes on a different approach because I believe in God, and have put my faith in Jesus Christ. In Proverbs (a book found in the Old Testament) it says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” So you see, for me having the sense of not being in the right place just tells me I need to give it to God and let him show me the way to go. It is where faith/hope/and trust collide.


Post Script: and about that not dating anyone/kissing anyone; be glad that you are simply living without for the time being, instead of living with guilt and regret like most of us.


jessi said…
C UC, you've definitely hit on something close to home for me aswell. (you even made me cry while reading your message.)
and stephen, you've answered so perfectly like you always seem to do.
i don't know if there's much more to say besides the fact that i feel the need to take a short road trip to santa cruz to dispense bear hugs, until i find the girl who needs one most.
Jen said…
I know how you're feeling.

Why do we give ourselves 'use by' dates? Who says we need to accomplish our goals by a certain age? Who says we have to know what we want to do by the time we finish college?

For the longest time, I wanted to be a graphic designer. I graduated highschool with that goal fresh in my mind. But then I went to college and realised that I was unhappy. Perhaps I should've continued with the course but it made waking up everyday ever so painful.

It took 2 years of soul searching and countless hours of crying to friends and family before I realised what I wanted to do with my life.

C UC, there is nothing wrong with feeling completely lost. Don't give yourself a 'use by' date. You do not have to know what you want to do after college.

I watched a news report about a 63 yr old man going back to uni, graduating with a degree in IT and then getting a job at an IT firm. I found that so inspiring. I realised that it's never too late to find your goal in life.

Take a break. Find yourself. Pray. Travel. Open your eyes.

And if none of this makes you feel a little more relaxed, find comfort in the fact that you are not the only person going through this. Everyone goes through it. You are not alone.

Nicole said…
Wow Stephen, excellent response as usual.
Anonymous said…
well said stephen, well said.
Story of a Girl said…
"So feeling lost is not a bad thing at all but the beginning of the discovery of life itself and where you fit in it"

That is very true. It's a great position to be at. An opportunity for change and to really start seeking out what you're passionate for.

What a great response.

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