June 14, 2018…This week I received my certification as a spiritual director from Seeking the Spirit Within, a ministry of the Nebraska Synod (ELCA) Institute for Spiritual Direction Formation. Spiritual direction happens when someone seeking more depth in their spirituality receives assistance from a companion who is trained to help them recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in their life.
I ran across a picture from an autumn run a couple years back in West Oneota Park. The caption read “hope for monarchs: milkweeds.” The milkweeds are hard to detect, except the one that has yellowed a bit. Look more closely, and in the middle right of the photo you’ll find two pods waiting to open and thrust their feathery seeds into a passing wind.
Who knows where those seeds will land? Most of them will not find purchase in soil. Next year the monarch butterflies will find those that take root and offer their pink globes to signal their winged guests. I imagine the long journey overcome with weightless wings, the instinct to seek and find the precious weed.
The inner landscape is vast and multiform. There are dangers and delights. Signposts and dumping grounds. Glorious sunrises and sunsets. Dark places. Paths that lead to discovery, and those that take us back. Memorials for pause and grief.
If I’m not care-ful, I pass by memorials and sunsets and weedy beauties unaware. I need help to see what is there, all that is waiting to teach me about itself. I need someone to help me train my eyes, not to show me what is there, but in order to simply see it and discern what needs my attention.
With my spiritual companion, I celebrate the pulsing goodness of my heart. I mourn the losses that throb and press. I welcome the memories whose parsing will transform their power.
We walk the path and notice what is flitting by, what is waiting to give life, what beckons with its dark invitation.
We look closely, together, my spiritual director and I.