When You’re Lost, Do You Stress or Stay Serene? And What’s the Message?

I was on my way to give a talk about A Remarkable Kindness in the town of Carmiel in northern Israel with my son, Ari, a few weeks ago. We got lost. We ended up pulling into the bus station—I had no idea it was even there until that moment.

I always tell Ari that there’s a reason things happen. This time, he said to me, “So what’s the reason we’re lost?”

“I don’t know,” I told him. “But when I find out, I will let you know.”

Then, last week, I had to pick up my daughter, Libby, who was taking the bus to Carmiel. She said, “Mom, do you even know where the bus station is?” (My kids and Jonny know my absolutely guaranteed ability to get lost no matter which continent. Jonny always jokes that if I had navigated our motorcycle trip to Alaska, we would have wound up in Argentina.)

“As a matter of fact,” I told Libby, “I do know where it is because I got lost there a few weeks ago!”

We don’t always know why something happens. Sometimes we find out the reason weeks or months or years later. We might never know. Maybe there are mysteries meant to remain mysteries. And that’s where faith comes in. Believing when it’s so difficult to believe. Besides, as my sister, Cynthia, always tells me, “We are never lost. We know where we are.” That is why when I’m lost, I no longer stress but stay serene. Maybe I’ll see something new. Maybe I’ll learn something unexpected.

And sometimes we get lost and stay lost. Sometimes it feels like we’ve been wandering far longer than Moses in the desert. Forty years! Everyone jokes that it’s only because Moses was a man and refused to ask for directions. But maybe those Jewish slaves needed to wander to lose some of their old habits—and their negativity. After all, they got their freedom and still complained about the manna. Maybe they had to learn to be grateful.

I’m posting this photo of Grandma Jamila. Jamila Hir, also known as “Grandma Jamila,” from the Druze village of Peki’in, northern Israel, who creates natural soaps from olive oil and medical herbs. She employs hundreds of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Druze workers and her small business brings in $50 million in profits and exports to 40 countries. She is also a widow, a mother to five children, a grandmother to 15 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. (Interesting sidebar: Dr. Ruth Westheimer featured Jamila in her book, The Olive and the Tree, about the Druze of Israel.) Jamila, as well as Dr. Ruth, are fabulous role models who remind us to give time…time.

Today’s tool: We do not always know why we make the wrong turn in life. And we do not always know why things take longer than we think they should, but eventually we get to where we are supposed to be.

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About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is a writer living in northern Israel whose novel, A Remarkable Kindness, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, and other publications. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker) was nominated for a National Jewish Book Award.
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5 Responses to When You’re Lost, Do You Stress or Stay Serene? And What’s the Message?

  1. Tom Scott says:

    Diana

    Wonderful. Getting lost on my bike always takes me through interesting places and scenery I would never plan to see using a map.

    Keep writing.

    Tom

    Tom Scott District Mgr Legrand 630/864-1669 tom.scott@legrand.us

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Tom. You are right – it’s fun to be lost. Hope you’re biking along the beautiful Fox River!

  2. I love moments like that. ❤️

  3. This post was a memory nudge for me, Diana. My mother’s calm came from her faith, and her belief that whatever happened, happened for a reason, even if the reason did reveal itself immediately. It served her well, and now with her advance dementia, she is still calm and I truly suspect that this long-held belief continues to hold firm inside her, and this serves as my guide as well. Excellent post.
    P.S. I, too, am direction challenged, and it has taken me to special realizations that I wouldn’t have missed for anything.

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Marylin, for writing me. I appreciate hearing about your mother’s faith and inner strength that continues to guide her. And you, too!

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