Growing up, I would often hear the same few stories from my parents. They were the go-to stories. You know the ones. The stories that are brought out and dusted off at each family gathering. Or on that particularly rambunctious Saturday night. Or because something reminded them of their stories. Or for no reason at all. They had the funny stories, the embarrassing ones, the parenting ones, the sad ones, the you had to be there ones.
My dad’s citizenship party where he locked himself in the office. The aftermath of the 1994 Northridge, CA earthquake when we slept under the kitchen table because the house was overturned and everyone had the chickenpox. The time my mom tried to brush her teeth in the dark and put diaper cream on her toothbrush. The toddler phase where I wanted to wear the same white slip every single day. That time my sister and I walked around the streets of London with a block of cheese and a baguette on our first (and only) international trip. And that one time my parents lost me while we were on Solvang, CA and my mother screamed like a banshee up and down the streets only to find that I had wandered into a gift shop with my own grandmother.
I was lost, but then I was found. But was I lost? Really lost? To my mother, I was as lost as Joseph was to his father Jacob in today's First Reading.
I was in good hands.
Joseph was a leader in Egypt, not eaten by wild animals. My mother was worried sick but was able to finally exhale after she saw that I was safe. Joseph's brothers couldn't even speak when he revealed himself to them!
We often feel lost. Lost to our own families who may have shunned us or simply do not understand us. Lost to the love of others when we feel ostracized or rejected. Lost to our own selves when we do not recognize who we are becoming or where we are going. Lost opportunities. Lost jobs. Lost loved ones.
But we are never lost as a child of God. His plan for us endures all tests, all roadblocks, all obstacles. God used Joseph's estrangement from his father to save the whole nation of Israel from famine—He took care of the one who trusted in Him. We are never lost—not when we are His.
Looking at relationships that feel lost in your life. Can you pray about them specifically asking for guidance on healing them? And pray for a closer relationship with Our Lord.
Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm is a wife to Paul, mom to two little ones, and practices dentistry at a public health community center for low income families in the Bay Area, California. She (unashamedly) thinks ice cream is its own food group, loves anything Harry Potter, does not leave the house without wearing sparkly earrings, and is an enthusiastic proponent of the Oxford comma. Find out more about her here.