Seeing What’s There

My wife has this plant from South Africa—a “bush lily” or something like that—and it only blooms when the temperature and light are juuuust right. When the flowers happen, though, they look unreal to me; like God gave some kid the box of cosmic crayons and said to have fun. I call them “the cartoon flowers,” and in my imagination they have bright cheerful faces and sing a happy song in unison.

It’s the colors, I suppose—yellow and orange stuck next to each other with some unseen line between them. No fading, no blending, no transition—just yellow and then orange on the same petal. Every time I see them, I’m sure that real flowers just can’t look like that.  They’re real, though, and they look like that, even though they don’t look quite right to me.

I love the cartoon flowers because they make me look at what is in front of me, regardless of what I think about it. They show up wearing the color equivalent of jazz hands, and when my thinking tries to get in the way, this beautiful bunch of orange and yellow flowers shines through the smokescreen of my thoughts.

Spiritual perception doesn’t usually come in bright orange and yellow, though. Sometimes the next best thing when the palette of your spiritual life tends towards the everyday side of the cosmic crayon box is to get another set of eyes on things. That’s where Spiritual Direction comes in.

Spiritual Direction is an ongoing conversation about your experience of your relationship with God. A good spiritual companion listens for the activity of God in your life as you share what is going on for you. Ideally a spiritual companion listens to your life so that you can listen in new ways, and ultimately both people are listening together for what God is doing.

One conviction that I bring to my relationships is that everyone’s an original. I mean it: each person is unique, and God interacts with each of us in a customized way. Part of the treasure hunt of your life is figuring out how you most effectively experience God. For my part, I used to be totally convinced that the most important thing about my relationship with God was my thoughts. Now I see my experience of connection with God as a lot more important. Sometimes I feel God in the breeze or feel God in the freedom of seeing a difficult person in a new way. And sometimes I even feel God when I’m carrying a little toad out from the basement parking area at work.

These days I’m often surprised at how close God is, at how much God inhabits the simplest details of my life. As I’ve had the gift of a spiritual companion’s listening ear, my experience of life has become more profound. Amazing, delightful things are all around, simply for the noticing.

None of this is meant to suggest that my path is the path for you. It can’t be—you will have to walk the path of finding out who God made you to be for yourself. A spiritual companion can help you along on that journey of seeing what is there in front of you. We would love to help you find a spiritual director who fits. Give us a call.

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