Jun 01, 2019Spiritual Direction: Airing Things

Spiritual Direction: Airing Things

Spiritual Direction can offer a way of untangling some of life’s difficult questions.

Mary Chiles One-minute read.   Resources
Clothesline, an opportunity for theological reflection. Image by 6537222 from Pixabay

The other day someone called me an earth mother. As I am the mother of seven children, that’s fairly common. I also have a penchant for things organic—food and otherwise. I seem to learn a lot of lessons through simple everyday experiences.

Just recently, I decided to celebrate the return of the summer sun by hanging out the laundry. First, I needed to open the umbrella clothesline. What should have been a five-minute task stretched into twenty minutes and then an hour. I even watched a YouTube video.

I was reminded that sometimes life seems to be all tangled up.

The clothesline was all a tangle. No matter how hard I forced it, the umbrella would not open. So, I prayed. After a few failed attempts, I followed every line until at last I was able to extend the arms of the clothesline.

In the midst of that slow process I was reminded that sometimes life seems to be all tangled up. For starters, there are all those unanswerable questions: Why do young parents die and sick old people linger? Why are some people hungry while others are fed to overflowing? How can one person enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, when for another addiction impoverishes? Why are some of the most brilliant people I know devastated by dementia?

Spiritual direction offers a quiet place to talk about that kind of thing. We sit one on one in a private space. We begin with a prayer. We eventually follow one line of questions. While I was able to untangle the clothesline, we may not come to an immediate logical conclusion. Nonetheless, talking with someone who listens without judgment or forced answers seems to lessen the twin burdens of doubt and fear.

Sometimes things just need some airing.

Mary Chiles serves on the vestry at Christ Episcopal Church, Springfield Missouri.

This article originally appeared in the Christ Church Clarion, Springfield.

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