Brian Wilcox 'Red Yarrow'
A disciple approached the Sage, for he could not understand how calmly and patiently the Sage treated all his disciples.
"Teacher," the disciple said, pointing to another disciple, "how can you be so patient with that fellow, for he seems lost all the time, and nothing you say seems to help?" "He's on the Way." "How can he be on the Way and so lost?" "Being lost is the Way."
Pointing to another disciple, the man spoke, "And that woman over there. She seems to be looking for something in the past. How can you tolerate her pining all the time?" "She's on the Way." "How can she be trying to find something in the past and be on the Way?" "Trying to find something in the past is the Way."
"Then, Teacher, I must not be on the Way. I neither struggle to find the Way nor feel I have lost the Way?" "Yes, you're on the Way." "How can you be sure of that?" "Knowing you're on the Way is the Way."
"Then, Teacher, who's not on the Way?" "Those on the Way are on the Way. Why need you ask about those not on the Way?"
"Then, what's the Way?" "One on the Way can say, 'There's no Way.' What else needs said? This means, 'Be silent.'"
* * *
There are three kinds of walkers on the Way.
1) The wanderer is lost, moving about aimlessly, trying to find her way, attempting to get a sense of direction. We must be lost to be found, or what would be the sense of being found?
2) The pilgrim is not lost. She has a sense of direction, as well as a destination. The destination may not be a final one, since she may not need such faith in something in time. And she may not have a clear idea of it; she may not want an idea of it at all, clear or unclear.
3) The exile is a person suffering dislocation. This is a form of lostness, and the exile has a clear sense of feeling cut off from a place or process that once was meaningful.
* * *
Sometimes, lostness must become severe to aid us to open to Grace. Spirit allows us to hit a wall, so to speak, until we exhaust our resistance to Grace. One such story, a parable Jesus told, we find in the Gospel of Luke 15.11-32 (GNT) - usually called The Prodigal Son, but better The Loving Father.
Jesus went on to say, "There was once a man who had two sons. The younger one said to him, 'Father, give me my share of the property now.' So the man divided his property between his two sons. After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living. He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing. So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs. He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. At last he came to his senses and said, 'All my father's hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve! I will get up and go to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers."' So he got up and started back to his father.