"Where are we going?" she asked.
There was only silence.
Getting lost is something I got used to a long time ago.
I have a horrible sense of direction. I mean, it is just awful, especially when I am traveling. When I am away and have to navigate around a new town I get extremely anxious. I make crazy directional decisions and feel overwhelmed and flustered immediately upon getting behind the wheel. If someone is in the car with me- forget it, I'm even worse.
Last February, I purchased a small compass with the purpose of giving it as a gift. For a number of reasons, the compass sat in the box and never made it out of my possession.
Last April, I moved to Baltimore City. I have worked in the city for years and grew up outside the city lines, so I had spent the majority of my adult life traveling in and out of the city. But when I moved, I suddenly had a terrible fear of getting lost. Where before I could easily recalculate and calmly find my way, now it was hard to breathe and extremely frustrating when I got turned around on streets in my own neighborhood.
I began to do a lot of walking. Shortly after moving, I unpacked this compass and took it out of the box. It was beautiful. Small, brass and black, with a very small clip. I attached it to my keys.
I decided that even if I was lost I wanted to know what direction I was going.
That's the funny thing about a compass. It's not there to give you directions or even to navigate you in any particular direction. It simply tells you which way you are going. I found this non-judgemental directional tool comforting and would rub my fingers along the letters USA engraved on the back as I walked.
I learned, slowly, that it was fine to not know the exact path and to get mixed up along the way. That tiny compass taught me the value forward direction, even when the destination was fuzzy and unclear. That tiny compass helped me to not stand still. Moving forward always meant moving towards something, even if it wasn't what I originally wanted or planned.
Forward, it seems, is the best direction in which to travel.
(h/t to Best Made Co. for making awesome products that inspire journeying)