Finding East

East. Such a simple word with the following meaning; a cardinal point of the compass, 90 degrees to the right of north. Perhaps when you hear this word, this is pretty much what you think. I’m not in your head, so I have no idea but usually, when we think of East, it’s in the sense of the direction. Perhaps when you hear the word East, it’s where the sun comes up every morning. Maybe it’s a reminder that tomorrow is here and it’s time to go do something. Or perhaps, it has a totally different meaning.

For me, when I hear East, I thought directionally as well. Until a few weeks ago when I saw a video, then it brought a whole new meaning to me. What I realized is we all have an East. It’s where we wake up every morning, it’s where we play, go to school, congregate with family and friends. It’s our comfort. It’s our now and we fully understand where our East resides.

But what you may not know is that not everyone has a sense of East. They don’t have a place to wake up every morning, to play, they bounce from one school to the next, they don’t have a place to go to when things are bad or when they are sad. They don’t have the luxury of waking up every morning and knowing exactly where the sun is today. They have to look around, get to know new places and pray this is going to be their East. For them, it’s traumatic and causes a sense of not knowing much about today and they certainly can’t see past today.

As we grow, our East is taught to us and if we are lucky enough, we fully know our East as we enter school. By knowing where East is, we also have a good sense of the other directions as well. North is up, South is down and West is our future. Without knowing exactly where East is in our lives though, it’s impossible to know where the other directions truly are, especially West, which, is our future. Go West young man doesn’t mean much to those who can’t grasp East first. This is unsettling in them and it causes confusion and heartache. It seems as if they are the only lost ones but they aren’t. They just can’t see far enough in other directions to see past their own confusion and heartache.

I never really thought about any of this until God placed a little girl in our life with absolutely no sense of East, therefore, no sense of any direction. It was hard at first to understand the confusion and frustration in her but when I finally realized, I’ve always known East and looked forward to going further West, I knew her pain was something I couldn’t grasp. I am thankful I wasn’t able to grasp it or comprehend it. It’s painful and frustrating for those who don’t know where East is. It leaves a sense of not being able to look back at yesterday, not belonging today and hopelessness for the future.

Knowing where our East is gives us a place to firmly stand and say, here I am, waiting for the sun to shine down on me and I will follow the rising sun through the day and see where it takes me today. And as we get more firmly planted in our east, we can look back at where we came from, see where we are and have that clear direction of West. We are proud of our directionally challenged girl. She has most definitely let go and allowed herself to begin developing the sense of her East. She knows where she will wake up every morning, who will take care of her and that there is a West out there just waiting for her to discover it!