“Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”

For school last year, my son had to read one of the most epic journey stories of all time, Homer’s The Odyssey.   This sweeping poem chronicles the hero Odysseus’ 10-year struggle to return home following the Trojan War.   He battles with mystical creatures and faces the wrath of the gods in his determination to recapture his throne.

I remember reading this quite avidly during my own school years, of course with no cognizance that this tale, so full of magic and darkness and triumph, was really a symbolic rendering of the mission we all face in adulthood.  We all have dragons we must slay, we all grapple with our relationships with the gods we believe in, we all have to struggle to find our sense of ourselves, of home.  And even when (if) we are completely confident and settled in who we are, we will still have to fight to maintain our core values in the face of conflict, tragedy, heartbreak.

Life is an epic journey; facing each and every day takes courage and resolve.

Life is an epic journey; facing each and every day takes courage and resolve.

But the truth is, for most of us, there are long periods of wandering and confusion.  During these times, life feels not so much like a journey as a test that we are failing quite badly.  Some regret where they have come from; others, many of us perhaps, wonder where we are going.

Time feels like an enemy, both dragging on endlessly and rushing us to our demise.

Ironically, it is not the dragon slaying that requires our steeliest nerves; it is the wandering.  It is the fear of the unknown rather than fear of the concrete that drains us of faith, and sometimes of hope.  We face our dragons defiantly and well-armed; we face the unknown trembling and unsure.

But as long as we keep moving forward, we are always on pace.  That is one of the greatest mysteries of life; you can never fall behind as long as you continue to grow. Eventually you begin to understand the wisdom of Ecclesiastes:  “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong…but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

This month, we asked you to share a part of your personal journey with us; where you have been, where you are going, when you felt lost and when you were right on track.  With the clarity of hindsight, most of us remember the various legs if not with fondness, at least with some reverence.  As we continue to survive and develop, our appreciation for all life brings us develops as well.

In retrospect a “cruel” teacher can seems wise, a “bad” experience becomes fortuitous, a “burdensome” relative comically endearing.  But then also grief can be a cleansing experience and great challenges a reaffirmation of our values and our strengths.  The whole journey is imbued with deeper and richer meanings as we come through it all, come what may.

“Not all those who wander are lost”…that quote, from J. R. R. Tolkien, perhaps best encapsulates this journey we call life; we all wander sometimes, but like Odysseus most of us find our way back home again.  Shareen and I hope you will wander our pages this month and enjoy the journey with us.  As always, we are humbled and grateful for all that our writers share with us.

Bon voyage, Kara

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I am Editor-in-Chief at OTV Magazine. Find me also at "Your New Best Friend" (http://karapostkennedy.blogspot.com/), The Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kara-postkennedy/),The Good Men Project (https://goodmenproject.com/author/kara-post-kennedy/) and Twitter (@kpk_newbf)

14 thoughts on ““Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost”

  1. Excellent post! I have a shirt that says this and was just thinking about this quote a few days ago. You’re spot on – we face the dragon (like Jamie Lannister running toward it lol) but when it comes to these in-between bits, I know I struggle with staying on track sometimes. And not giving in to despair. A useful trick I’ve found is taking a minute to be grateful for what you do have. Things aren’t perfect, but there’s always at least one small thing that’s good each day. Even something as simple as a breeze through the window that feels good on your face is enough to give you a bit of hope that all is not lost. Thanks for the great piece! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Confusion and vulnerability have a lot in common, come to find out. Both leave us much more open to alternative solutions and new paths. So we keep moving in spite of everything!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes i think this story teaches us about what life is,the dangers in life, the signals of confrontation in life,getting back and win the battles of life. The word life means a lot,it can be failure,mistake, success.stagnate,confusion,defeat not knowing what to do or sometimes giving up and waiting for failure.Wandering is not the end to our life but crossroad between decisions making like Odysseus. we must not also lose sight about our dragons in this life and learn how to deal with them. a “cruel” teacher can seems yes wise,i also share the same sentiment and learn a great lesson, Life is an epic journey; facing each and every day takes courage and resolve. The prodigal son was a good example. Very insightful.

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  3. I look fear right in the eyes and laugh…sometimes. Great post Kara and I’m looking forward to reading the posts others have shared about their journeys. Autumn is such a wonderful time to go inward and do some of that soul searching! Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this. I had the pleasure of voicing my opinion on an article published here by one of OTV’s contributors and receiving the feedback that I had made her day a little easier by the perspective I shared. I didn’t t set out to do that, but there it was nonetheless. This post is like that for me. To be someone who is wandering and not lost has been my motto ever since I first created my WordPress in August. So by synchronization or divine intervention, or some other fateful endeavor, I’ve been feeling like I’m on the right road to be on. Also, I’m very close with my Mother, and she has no idea of most of the things I’ve been through, so it was a great change in perspectiveto hear about a Mother who has a son, and who understands this important moment in people’s lives well enough to be able to write about it so beautifully. You rock! Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this. Sometimes the people who are closest to us lack perspective and we need “outside” reaffirmation of our path. Our readers are just as important to us as our writers. I am so happy to hear you are feeling “on track”. Our best to you and thank you for reading!

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  5. Wonderful, Kara. Thank you. Like Odysseus, I found my way to Ithaca (not the Greek one) and found love, my spiritual path and community, my home ground, and more. Life is my Teacher. Yes that includes confusion, feeling lost, feeling overwhelmed, and wrenching disappointment about what and who must be left behind. If I look at it all as a spiritual journey, even as I work with the blocks on a psychological level, I find deep meanings embedded everywhere and bread crumbs on the trail that keep leading me forward. Not knowing where I’m going, but still taking one more step.

    Liked by 1 person

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