In mid-July, 1977 and with no prior experience, I was accompanying my church youth on a backpack trip in the Sierra Nevada’s Minaret Wilderness. The sun was setting and all of us were closing in on our base camp for the five days ahead. I stopped to help a youth adjust his pack’s weight while the others continued to hike. Finishing the task, I sent the youth ahead while I adjusted my own pack for the final hour of the hike.
As I continued alone, I noticed it was getting harder to follow the trail. Soon, I realized that I no longer understood where the trail went having lost my way. I yelled at the top of my voice but to no avail. The others had gotten too far beyond me to hear my voice. I was lost—really lost like I had never been before.
After ten minutes of negative thoughts, I decided to retrace my steps and return to a place where I last knew I was on the trail. I would wait there hoping that someone would notice I hadn’t arrived at camp with the rest. It took me another ten minutes to find the trail again. I waited what seemed to be an eternity (probably just half an hour). As it was turning dusk, I heard my name shouted in the distance. With great relief, I returned shouts until the search party arrived.
With flashlight in hand, I entered the camp thinking “I once was lost but now am found—was blind but now I see.” I suppose salvation is a matter of returning to a place in our lives where we have a reasonable change of being found and receiving sufficient light to continue on our path.