Searching for the Sake of the Search – Part 2 of 2

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Photo taken by the author; Three Sister’s Mountain Range at dusk; Canmore, AB

“Every search begins with beginners luck. And every search ends with the victor being severely tested. The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. It said that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.”

– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

A helpful guide at this point would be to say that a person’s search changes throughout their lifetime. There are various seasons, or stages, that we as human beings inherently go through as we live life. Aren’t you glad you’re not stuck as an infant for the rest of your life, spending your days wearing diapers, crying as your lungs maintain a full-capacity level, and unable to speak a coherent train of thought?

Each stage of life reveals different searches, each presenting themselves with different opportunities and challenges. It is during each stage where we can experience different passions, interests, priorities, or goals than the previous stage. New ones take centre stage while older ones move backstage as the curtain comes down. To illustrate, what a young adult is searching for in their twenty-something is radically different from what our parents are searching for. And that is much different than what our grandparents are looking for.

Like the economic cycle, our life can best be viewed, or understood as, in cycles. Sometimes life for us is on an up-swing while other times it seems to be going the other way. Yet, these cycles seem to take place within an equilibrium, where our lives are constantly being brought back into balance, to be centred. Just take a moment and reflect back over your life, or even this past year, and observe the various waves you have had to ride through.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Different stages of life present different goals a person sets for themselves. Each of these goals offer different motiving factors for what a person wants in life at a particular time. There are plenty of ways this “search” can be categorized as: meaning, purpose, career, faith, lifestyle, a soulmate, a spouse, dream vacation, travelling, friendships, acceptance, hope, love (and all the various kinds of love that there are), a sense of belonging, and accomplishment, to name a few.

As the saying goes, “The journey is more important than the destination.” And searching, of all the types and kinds that exist, is a journey – in fact, it may be one of the most important journey’s we take in life. Still trying to understand the logic in this, for me the process has in it more significance than the end goal or the accomplishment of our desired endpoint. I think this is because both the fun and the learning take place in the journey.

After all, life is an adventure and it isn’t the arrival or the destination that brings life – to either the search or the searcher. The thing about each of us is we are evolving creatures. In fact, our world and everything in it is in a constant, changing, and continuously evolving state. Nothing is static; rather, it is dynamic. That is the nature of the search.

Searching for the Sake of the Search – Part 1 of 2

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Photo of the author taken by Dwight Van Middlesworth, Sr., on Lake Invermere, B.C.

“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”

– Bono, U2

What are you looking for?

As we navigate our way through what appears to be, oftentimes unchartered territory, it can feel like our clarity is the equivalent of trying to identify the mixtures through a clear glass of Coca-Cola Classic combined with 2% milk. Even with our proverbial compass in front of us we still don’t know which way is due North.

The feelings that can accompany us during these searching moments aren’t necessarily the ones you want to re-live, as some kind of encore emotional performance. Along the way, as we have within us the aches of our heart for the yearnings of life, what we are really looking for is someone to just listen to us. A trusted companion to hear both our pain and our aspirations. We need hope so we go looking for it, in a personified way.

This searching is actually a hunt for the void places of our soul, where often all that stands between now and then – the fulfillment – is simply time. Each of us is on this search as we want to keep growing. We innately want to grow our ourselves, our character, our knowledge, our abilities, alright you get the point. For to not be searching would be to be settled and we as the human race have a very difficult time being settled, with pretty much anything in life. We are restless creatures, evermore continually and continuously on a restless and relentless journey. As ironic as it may sound, this is where we prefer to be – in the action.

Even so, sometimes in life we get stuck and don’t know what to do or where our next step should be. My pastor has once said, “It is easier for God to move a ship when it’s moving out at sea than when it’s anchored at bay.” I feel I can relate to this analogy and have discovered the truism in this saying: in order to find direction in one area of life, the starting point is to get moving, in any direction – even if it’s backwards. The point is to be in motion and out of that, with our sails up, so to speak, God can direct us and lead us for where we are to go.

Through this process of determining the next step for myself, circumstances have somehow aligned themselves in such a way that I’ll hear some lyric from a song on the radio that pops out at me while driving, or a verse will stand out to me when I’m reading the Bible, or a friend will say something that stands above everything else I’ve heard during the course of the day. As a result, l will have gained the clue to what I was looking for that helps determine what the next step is or it may even be the final piece of the puzzle that is needed to find what I was looking for.