Endeavors

A lot has unfolded in the 14 years I’ve held this blog account (14 years!). What a life to look back upon! In the past two years I’ve been in the process of training to become a Spiritual Director. I took one year to pray, find a program and then begin the enrollment process for it, and now I am one year in as I begin year two of my training this September of 2021.

Many have asked me what Spiritual Direction is or they have shrugged up their faces in confusion or suspicion as to what the term Spiritual Direction even means! While it might sound “new age” or strange, it is actually an ancient practice that was born in and for the Church. Spiritual Direction has it’s roots in the Catholic church but has gained wider visibility within Protestant churches as more of God’s people have sought out deeper spiritual experiences in the past 50 + years especially.

Spiritual Direction is “holy listening”. A trained Director sits with a Directee once a month and “listens” with them for movements and experiences of holy things. Together we spiritually companion once a month as we pay attention to God’s loving movement in and through a person’s life. These movements happen in ordinary daily living so we explore together God’s presence and the responses the individual directee experiences in our times together.

My casual way of explaining it would be to say that there are all sorts of places in this world to discuss things in our lives. While historically the Church would be a place where people bring their spiritual questions and curiosities or shared experiences, this has declined here in North America. So when you come and explore Spiritual Direction with me, you explore your spiritual experiences, bring your questions, your thoughts, your prayers and frustrations, your losses and gains and together, we walk and pay attention to the movements of God in your life.

“Everyone is looking for someone who is looking for them. -Dr. Curt Thompson, Anatomy of the Soul

In my practice of SD, I specifically focus on the Christian experience, but there are Spiritual Directors for almost every faith practice you can find. (And the roots of SD are Christian.) My goal is to practice SD as an LLC once I graduate in May. I do currently meet with people as part of my training and this has been an enriching and encouraging experience as I more deeply lean into the art of SD.

As I continue in my training, I plan to refresh this blog along the way with Spiritual Practices, insights and thoughts along the way. I am learning so much that my brain could use a space to share it in my own voice. My hope is to spark some curiosity within my audience as to what God might be up to in your own life.

Subscribe now if you feel a tinge of curiosity rising within you.

If you would like to find a Spiritual Director in your area, check out http://www.graftedlife.org and under Spiritual Direction click Find A Director. If you would like to find a Spiritual Director of a different faith, check out Spiritual Directors International and under Find click Find a Spiritual Companion.

Love Amidst Crisis

Currently, in America we are under the duress of the Novel COVID-19. My friends have deemed this time, “under the Rona”. Our country has been warned to stay home and to limit our exposure to others, to significantly shrink our social circles to those whom we cohabitate with and to do so for the foreseeable future. My family has done this for the past three weeks and as a house full of extroverts, this has been very challenging. Yet, even my deeply introverted friends, who have also been staying home for the past three weeks, have said this is beginning to challenge their sanity.

 

Unfortunately, this situation is likely to remain this way for a long period of time. My heart has broken with disappointment as all the usual things in this life that I love are one by one going away. Summer is a season our family lives to enjoy. It’s our time to flex our hospitality muscles and be with ALL the people. We intentionally reconnect with everyone we haven’t been able to see due to full life and school and sports schedules. We stay out late and enjoy hosting events and going out in nature with friends and family.

 

The dawning that all these things are likely not to happen is so sad. And yet, my mind has begun to ask the question, “how can I show love to the people who matter to me if I can’t be with them physically?”. I think in this time, we need more signs of affection and support than we ever have because we are going to continue to be disconnected from one another physically in order to stay healthy and safe for the long haul. Let’s consider how to show love from the perspective of love languages:

 

  1. Acts of Service
  2. Words of encouragement and affirmation
  3. Gifts
  4. Physical Touch Physical Distancing with Compassion
  5. Quality Time

 

Acts of Service: So you can’t do things yourself for the persons you love, but you can choose to do some safe things that serve someone. You can: send a friend a meal from a local business or make them a meal or treat and drop it off, mow a friend’s yard or do other yard work like pull weeds and trim bushes, go to the store and get something they need or go to your own pantry and give them something they need. Chalk up someone else’s driveway! Call your friend. Face Time them. Take the time to connect with them and just ask if they need anything!

 

Words of Encouragement and Affirmation: Send something in the mail! Drop a letter at their house personally. Organize a car parade and drive past their house honking and holding signs, send a text or a marco polo telling your friend how much they mean to you, start a bucket list of all the things you want to do together when this is all over and share it with your people, tell someone what you miss about being together or just that you miss being together! Tell your people what you like about them! (This is also great for the people you are cohabitating with!)

 

Gifts: This one is easy but it doesn’t have to be expensive or boujee. Cut some flowers from your garden/yard and drop them at a friend’s house. Buy a small container of fresh herbs to grow or some bulbs/plants that will last so that when you are together again they will remind you of what you went through. Paint a rock, a flower pot, or a card and give it away, draw stick figures of what you wish you were doing together and send it to your friend, send your friend something off Amazon that you know they would love!

 

Physical Distancing with Compassion: All of the huggers in the world are not ok. Please have compassion on them. There are still ways you can show people you love them without touching them. Please do not shame people at this time if they are sad and long for some physical presence. If you are a hugger and you are feeling this loss acutely, it’s ok to admit it. Do a drive-by for your hug loving friend, show them that they matter by keeping your distance but still being willing to be present and show your face. Talk to someone from their porch while you stand in the driveway. It is safe for us to do this IF you keep your distance. Just stay in the open air and stay 6 to 12 feet away from each other and stay one-to-one. Don’t give up on being present especially for those who are lonely. Visit through the window of your house! Be creative! 

 

Quality Time: Even though we can’t sit and just be with one another physically, you CAN give of yourself and your time even in the midst of these challenges. Set aside an hour to call or facetime someone you love and even schedule it so that they know you are thinking of them and they know you’ve carved this time out for them. Be intentional with your attention and signs of affection. It matters to these people greatly.

 

This is a time of stress. It is not the “new normal” it is ABNORMAL. Don’t call it normal! It is a time in life where we will be challenged to think outside the box. Keep telling the people you love that you love them and how you love them. It will help you to feel better and it will help the person you share your love with feel better too.

 

Finally, I want to remind us all that there is no shame in getting COVID-19. The people who have contracted this virus will need safe love the MOST. Don’t let fear rule you or keep you from sharing the love that you have for others. Be safe and choose to love!