Growing up I always looked forward to our annual summer holiday at the cabin in Lake George, New York. I still vividly remember sitting in the back seat keeping myself amused by counting types of cars, out of state license plates, waiting for favorite vista points and reading when that wasn’t enough. Oh, and least I forget trying to ignore my sister. Sometimes, I just gazed out the window thoughtlessly taking it all in. It was a journey of new sights, sounds, friends, new ways to play and rich material for the essay that was coming “how I spent my summer vacation.”
Although we all knew the route by heart, Dad would do his best to mix it up a little. I didn’t understand much about maps, but remember these cool books from AAA called “triptixs.” Page by page the route to your final destination was highlighted. Now that I think about it, they served as prehistoric GPS systems. The big difference of course is that you needed to be actively engaged in your triptix if wanted to reach your final destination.
Since then I’ve taken many journeys and they still need planning, trust and occasionally a triptix. Now there’s no back seat, no sister to ignore, new destinations, unfamiliar routes and lots of mindfulness. As vividly as I recall the journeys to Lake George, I will also remember my inward journey which opened the eyes of my heart. It’s journey of self-discovery which provides rich material for the next essay “how I spent my life according to God’s plan.” It is a difficult journey requiring trust, hard work, a very special triptix, and the innocence of a child sitting in the back seat. This time God is the driver and the destination is my inner self or sacred identity. This time the triptix is a very special guide who I call Spiritual Director.
As I travel through this Season of Epiphany, I’m working hard to remember that the coming of Christ is about God entering the mess of this world, from the stinky manger to the torturous cross. Everything in between is to be discovered in the realization that God sent His Son to teach us to be fully human. Everything in between is about our journeys from brokenness to wholeness and the reclaiming of our Sacred Identities.
Joseph Tetlow reminds us that “God projects for each human person a contribution to the Reign -a concrete contribution that defines the original purpose in each of us.” Discovering God’s purpose in our lives is indeed to journey from the stinky manger to the torturous cross. It was Jesus’ journey and it is our journey. A journey we are all called to take.
Spiritual Direction is a discipline and as any discipline challenging. The reclaiming of my sacred identity is to fully realize God’s individual purpose for me and my expected contribution to the Reign. It is a journey of rigorous surrender, honesty, truth telling, and often loneliness. It is a sacred response to a longing deep within my heart and soul. It is an indefinable yearning to lose myself, re-imagine my life, to re position my place with God, and to redefine my journey.
I invite you to hear the whispers of your heart urging you to return to the place where you will truly know your contribution to the Reign. If you are to lose yourself to find yourself then be willing to surrender and gratefully accept that you are not alone. This journey is not meant to be solo one. We broaden our horizons, take on guides, learn new ways of doing things, and learn to see and hear differently. We travel with a mobile God, take direction, surrender ego, our dualistic thinking and most importantly grow in the knowledge and trust that we are “partners” with God.
From that stinky manger to the torturous cross, Jesus fully realizes His humanity and divinity. In resurrection, Jesus thoroughly understood His contribution to the Reign. Like Jesus, as we become fully human and fully divine taking our rightful place in the Reign. Spiritual Direction, Discerning Hearts, prayer, gratitude, openness, and surrendering to that sacred yearning deep within are but triptiks to new lives fully realized and fully lived. And along the way, we start living our lives out loud whether we realize it or not. The ultimate reward for taking the journey is hearing God say “in you I am well pleased.”
Find a guide, pick up the triptix, map it out and take a journey of a life time.