Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why am I here?

Don't panic I'm not having existential angst. Today we in class we talked about 'Islam and Spiritual Direction' and also 'Spiritual but not Religious'. I'm not going to blog about either of those topics (even though they were excellent sessions). There was a chance comment made by a classmate that seemed to resonate with me and got me thinking about my path to Hesychia.

His comment (paraphrased) was 'The church seemed to be more about doctrine than saving souls'.

In many ways, that was me, and if I'm honest is still me sometimes, but to hear it expressed with that clarity made me think 'Why do I want to be a Spiritual Director?' as opposed to a Teacher or something like that. I used to be a paid up member of the 'Brethren Doctrine Police' (I just made that up). Being 'right' was more important than being 'loving'. I treated people that way because that was the way I thought God treated me. That changed because of Spiritual Direction in my life.

Why do I want to be a Spiritual Director?
One of the things I've always been good at is asking questions. Somehow I seem to have an ability to phrase a question in a way that can reveal, lovingly challenge, and invite. I used to ask seemingly simple questions to people and then challenge their answers in a way that made them think. (Cliff/Adam, if you're reading this 'Who are you?' GRIN)

Why do I want to be a Spiritual Director?
I first encountered Spiritual Direction at a guided retreat at S.t. Hildas in Whitby. This is the Mother House of the Order of the Holy Paraclete. I didn't know that what I was experiencing was Spiritual Direction, but the guidance of that Nun back in 1992 started me on a path that has brought me to Hesychia. More than just guidance though, the experience had a profound affect on my spirituality and how I viewed Jesus. Jesus became for me someone I wanted to be seen un public with, someone who was attractive and welcoming. This was one of the first glimpses that I had of a 'different Jesus' to the one I had somehow created for myself. This one was nice! I'd like to help more people have that experience.

Why do I want to be a Spiritual Director?
It seems like the next step that God is calling me in to. I don't know why and what for, but this feels 'right'. On Monday, when I was going to be 'spiritually directing' for the first time in my Practicum session, I posted a comment to that fact on Facebook. Within moments I had comments from people, including people I haven't talked to in years, that basically said how I had a positive impact on their life and spirituality. It seems like I've been doing this for a while without knowing it.

Why do I want to be a Spiritual Director?
Yes there is a part of me that wants to have 'a title'. Some of that is motivated by a thought that 'people will take me seriously once I have a title'. That thinking doesn't really work, esp. as there is no nationally accredited qualification for becoming a Spiritual Director. More than that though. I want to connect with people. I want to listen to them where they are and honor the work that God is doing in them. There is something powerful about being with somebody on Holy Ground as they share their sacred story.

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