When I was in about the third or fourth grade, my family was taking a trip from our home in northeast Ohio to visit my aunt and uncle in the Boston area. We were driving throughout a long, rainy night. I recall waking up to find that my dad had become lost in Providence, Rhode Island. A woman driving behind us could tell that we were lost. She drove along side my dad and offered to help us find our way. My dad had to swallow his pride and accept her help.
This took place long before the days of Google Maps. The icon shown above is familiar to anyone who has looked up directions online. It reminds us that someone knows the way to our destination and can help us get there.
Don’t you wish that finding our way on our spiritual journey was as simple as clicking on an icon and simply following directions. Unfortunately, life often doesn’t work that way. Our experiences—both good and bad—can obscure our vision until we lose track of where we are going. Sometimes, we need directions.
Many spiritual seekers have found help in their spiritual journey from spiritual directors. Spiritual directors are people who listen with compassion and without judgment, who can see objectively where we are and where we are going, and who, through prayerful reflection, help us to find our way to our spiritual destination.
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We find an example of spiritual direction in the book of the Bible known as the “Acts of the Apostles.” A disciple named Phillip saw a man traveling from Jerusalem to Ethiopia. The man was reading a scroll from the prophet Isaiah. Phillip asked the man if he understood what he was reading. The man replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” (You can read this entire story in Acts 8:26-40).
Spiritual directors come from all walks of life. Some are clergy, but many are not. Some are affiliated with particular denominations; others are not. Some speak the traditional language of the faith; others do not.
Spiritual directors are not therapists. They are not problem solvers. They are not necessarily saints (although I have known many who are well on their way to sainthood!). They are companions for our journeys of spirit who recognize that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate spiritual guide.
Are you interested in learning more about spiritual direction? I suggest that you pray about it, asking the Holy One if a spiritual director would be helpful in your faith journey. If you have questions, I would be happy to talk with you and help you find a spiritual director who is right for you.
Blessings to you for your journey!