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On This Everything Depends

I want to tell you about my first experience of spiritual direction. My Director was a big bear of a man we will call Dr D. He looked quite a bit like Santa Claus actually. It was the beginning of my own journey to exploring contemplative spirituality. I just felt salty to experience Jesus in my life. Dr D took me under his wing. He was so encouraging and accepting of me that he gave me a safe place to explore my heart and to make room for God in there. I remember he wore a ring with the word “Beloved” on it. We didn’t talk much theology -a natural temptation and roadblock in my prayer life. I remember he told me “Paul, God didn’t give you your brain to figure him out!” Slowly tentatively, I began to trust that I was God’s Beloved too, that he sangs songs over me, that His banner over me was love. That took a while and truthfully, the warmth and acceptance of Dr D were the fertile soil in which this seed was planted. Of all my reasons to be a Spiritual Director myself, helping to awaken an appreciation of their Belovedness in somebody else was easily the most significant one. It’s amazing how much convincing we need, how much resistance we have to that idea- as we nod our heads (not our hearts) when we are told it. It’s the nod of the heart that makes all the difference. As you nod your head and say “Oh Yes of course… I am God’s Beloved..of course,” what are we really thinking? If you can verbalise it you are halfway there. Can you chat with the one who calls you Beloved about the answers? Because knowing in your bones, in your deepest places, that God sees you as His Beloved Child is the foundation for everything. As my other Spiritual Director would say…”On this everything depends.”

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