I am wishing I could make pickles the way I can make BBQ sauce, year round, slow and easy. Pat emailed me this morning and kindly reminded me that there might be other things to talk and think about besides pickles, so thanks Pat!!
One of the books I'm reading for class is Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction by Margaret Guenther. I got this book sometime last year and got about halfway through it before something else came along and took my attention away from it. It's on Joe's reading list so I thought, hey I have it, guess I should finish reading it. He gave us 5 books to pick from and said to get an A we need to read 3 and write a paper on each. I can read 3 and write 3 papers for an A! The really great thing about this book is it's written by a woman. Most of the books out there on spiritual direction are written by men. I believe this is do to the fact that maybe the women are busy doing spiritual direction and don't have time to write about it. Margaret is a professor of Ascetical Theology and Director of the center for Christian Spirituality at the General Theological Seminary. She a Episcopal priest serving in New York City. The book was written in 1992, yet is fresh and timely for me!
The chapter I'm on now is called Midwife to the Soul and it's how closely related spiritual direction is to a midwifery. The story of Shiphrah and Puah (Exod. 1:15-21) is given as an example of what midwife's do. The king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives to kill all the boy's and let the girls live. This was around the time Moses was to be born. But the midwives feared God and let the boy's live, and God blessed them.
When people come to a spiritual director, they may not know exactly why they are coming. All they may know is something is changing or has changed and they need some help with figuring it out. So the director is there to ask question and listen to the directee and to the Holy Spirit. Even though we may die alone, no one was born alone, so to be born presupposes relationship, connection, and community. (p. 85) As we search for God's will for our life, we need others around us to help us figure out the journey. I remember when I went on my pilgrim Walk to Emmaus, and when I came off that mountain top experience, I needed people to explain what in the world had just happened, why I was on top of the world, full of love and joy! These people that came around me were my Midwife's. They had walked the path before me and knew the answers to the questions that I was asking. The Midwife is present to another in a time of vulnerability, working in areas that are deep and intimate. (p. 87). She helps the directee towards even greater self knowledge. This is not counseling, or pastor care, this is spiritual direction. Walking with someone through their spiritual life. This is what I long to do!