Like many of you, spiritual direction is a concept and practice that is not deeply familiar. I was first introduced to it during seminary and pastoral care classes. Though used in the same vein as the care offered by a pastor or therapist, there was a distinction in purpose and form. Spiritual direction is a conversation with a directee who is seeking greater awareness of God, a director who commits to listening and praying toward that awareness and God, who is waiting to be known.
At first glance, its complicated and unnatural. Why would one chose to invite a stranger into our already complex relationships with God? My formal process of learning spiritual direction is adding even more concepts and names and frameworks for this experience that I have known to be more instinctive.
In the flurry of words, I tried to center and found myself asking: Shannon, before all this –who listened to you to help you hear yourself and God more clearly? Grandma was first. On a Saturday morning, I would stand on a chair next to her at the kitchen sink. I’d be her extra hands for cleaning greens. She’d be my extra ears pointing into my soul. She’d weave between asking me what I was learning at school to reminding me not to splash water on the floor with choruses of song and silence. She was inviting and connecting and being.
Grandma was my spiritual director. She helped me find and listen to the God in me and around me in very formative years of my life. Without all the special names and our inherent fears, I wonder if spiritual direction is not that distant from the the steps you’ve walked. Who has journeyed with you, helping to point back to your soul?