An Open Letter to a Friend, Lost on the Road

My friend.

I see you now in my mind’s eye, collar turned up against the wind, your whole life slung over your shoulder in a well used backpack, hat down low on the side of a lonely, two-two lane blacktop serpent of a road leading through a sea of blowing grass. Your face reflects the weariness of your feet and I can tell from here that this isn’t where you expected to be on this journey. Your shoes are worn and your jeans are dusty. You stop and drop your pack for a moment, pull out an old canteen and take a drink.  You look both ways down the road, seeking…..what? A ride? A sign? A new crossroads? I wish I could ease your hurt. I wish I had the right words to steal the pain from your eyes and put the smile back on your face. I wish I could bring you back home. But those things are beyond me. All I can say is I love you my sad, sorrowful brother. That will have to be enough.

I can’t say I completely understand what you are going through, that would be a lie to bring false comfort, something you surely don’t need.  I can say that I have been lost on the road before. I know the anticipation and loss of hoping every day and waking to a sunrise of lost illusions.  I can say that I found the way to my destination and found my destiny along the path, like golden bread crumbs left by another weary traveler.  I can say that I will light a candle for you every night and pray for you guidance and safety. And I can promise that if you come see me again at the end of your journey, or sometime before it’s done, while you are still looking, I will have a soft couch, a cold glass of refreshment, and a hot meal on the table.

Keep your head up, my friend, and your eyes open. Story’s have storytellers, pilgrimages have shrines, roads have mapmakers, and journeys have guides. I know you’ll meet them along the way if you are looking.  Send me a letter from the road, and keep yourself safe and sane.  May the maker of roads make the road rise to meet you.  If you have tears, may they wash away the scales on your eyes.  Find your laughter again, it’s waiting for you; your One Thing; your merrythought.  Heal and return to us my friend, my brother. Don’t take any wooden nickels and stay true to the goal of your travels. And then, one sunset drenched afternoon, I’ll see you coming down the road and I will run to embrace you, pounding your back as we laugh and cry for joy at your return.

And I won’t be the only one who runs to meet you.

Watching for you,

j

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