My family bought me one of the finest birthday gifts I have ever received a couple of week ago, they bought me a GPS. As with the fictional character Dirk Gently, created by Douglas Adams, I believe in the ‘fundamental interconnectedness of all things’. Maybe theologians would phrase it more ponderously but, among the many blessings I have received, I am not a theologian and so Dirk Gently’s view of the world is much the same as my own. I know from personality tests and life experience that I am a ‘seeker’; looking for connections and a question is immensely more interesting to me than the answer. Usually I savor the answer for a moment or two, and then I am off on another quest.
I originally wanted a GPS for hiking since I have been in love with maps, compasses, directions, and seeking as long as I can remember. My home does not feature much in the way of hiking, especially when the gales of February are blowing. I thought I would have to wait until spring to introduce my GPS to my compass in the wilderness, but I was wrong.
Geocaching is something I had heard of, but didn’t know much about. Essentially it is a high-tech game of scavenger hunt, or hide-n-seek. One uses a GPS to find things hidden by others and to claim victory. Some people understand that the pleasure of successful seeking is the reward at the end, and they have traditional boxes to open. Others seem to feel that the most difficult ‘hide’ is the best. I suspect they are the ones who like to make you feel stupid because you can’t find the treasure at the end of the GPS rainbow. I have quickly developed a preference for the first, not the second, philosophy. I think this is because I need to find something before I can seek something else or things seem incomplete to me, and I need closure before I go on with anything in life.
I was explaining my new-found hobby to my friend with Alzheimer’s in an attempt to cheer him up during a recent pastoral visit. His condition is worsening and conversation is becoming more difficult. The irony did not escape me. I was describing a device that could provide precise answers to a seeker to someone who was losing the ability to seek; a man for whom the future holds more and more questions, and fewer answers.
When I moved to leave my friend suddenly embraced me and whispered ” I love you” into my ear. He had tears in his eyes when I had a chance to look. My friend who is constantly fighting the depression of becoming lost knows that he loves, and this is all the answer we really need. I think his memory might go, but his soul will remain, and it is a loving soul. Lloyd is a truly good, incredibly good, and humble man full of courage. He found the answer a long time ago, and all I am able to do is to reassure him when I visit him every two weeks or so. He doesn’t need to seek. He has been found by another seeker. I love him too, and I tell him so.