X isn’t an easy letter to write about in the #atozchallenge, but a friend told me a story that made its way into my novel, Greening of a Heart, that reminds me of the expression X marks the spot. I included the story because it held spiritual significance for me and was appropriate for Hannah Winchester, the main character in the story.
…Madeline said, “I heard a story you might want to think about.”
“You mean a story you’ve made up to make a point?” Madeline had always been a good story-teller; growing up with a southern voice honed in Atlanta. By the time she was thirty, she’d hit her stride, and employed this ability to leave her friends, not only comforted by her stories, but able to look and think about their lives differently. Though possibly overstated, Hannah believed her friend preached a gospel that helped and healed others.
Madeline ignored Hannah’s dig. “A man stopped his car and got out. He approached two old gentleman who were sitting on a bench and said to them, “I’m lost.’ One of the men responded, ‘No you’re not, you’re here.’” Hannah stared blankly back at her.
“I wouldn’t have you feeling lost for the world, dear girl, but I think there is another way to look at this. Everyone experiences the longing to live different lives. Maybe it is the constraint of money or health or even courage that impedes our dreams. If we spend our days always thinking of what we have missed, what might have been, we miss the now of our lives, too. You aren’t lost, Hannah, you’re here. In this moment, we’re here, looking at one another with this beautiful garden emerging around us. Perhaps you might find being lost is not a bad thing, but an opportunity to notice new places you have never been, actually looking at the things you pass by.”
On the days we are feeling lost, perhaps we should say to ourselves…no, we’re here; X marks the spot.