|Posted by Joan Zabelka on March 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM|
I used to love winter as a child. It was a carefree time of sledding, snow forts, and making angels. The first day of winter is also my birthday so for the longest time I was partial to winter. (Since we survived 12/21/12 I think we have a few more winters left on this wonderful planet.)
As a stay-at-home mom for many years, I loved winter with the kids. I was as excited for snow days as they were. We stayed home baking cookies, making snowmen, and snuggling under blankets reading. Then I started working and winter became a problem. I had to leave my driveway.
I hate driving in the snow. No amount of practice makes me a better driver. Fear builds as the weather forecasters intensify the panic mindset. Driving in the snow shows me my priorities. Is my desire to get to a certain place despite the snow more important than the fear surrounding driving in the snow? Am I willing to take the risk?
This practice of paying attention to priorities spreads to other aspects of my life. Is my desire to "get to a certain place" (physically, spiritually, mentally) more important than the fear surrounding it? Am I willing to take the risk?
Taking problems surrounding fear to spiritual direction is my way of overcoming being immobilized and snowbound. It's a place to discuss "my irrational thinking" (my words), get out of my head, into my car, and on with life.
As I drive through the neighborhood, the bare trees also remind me of spiritual direction. In spiritual direction we shed our masks, lies, shame, fears, and facades. We know we are safe and we can reveal ourselves in God's presence. Once the leaves are shed we can see the skeleton and the framework of the trees. We celebrated that shedding in the fall as we admired the beauty of the colorful leaves and now we can admire its underlying beauty.
We also notice its brokenness. The trees above have been broken, cut down, injured, and yet we see their will to survive and grow evident in the offshoots. We come "broken" to spiritual direction. Our pain, injuries, and attempts to survive are laid out in spiritual direction so we can see our story - our life through the lens of the bigger picture. We look at our story through the eyes of our loving God.
Then, looking through these eyes we are able to see so much more. As we bare our soul and empty ourselves - just as the fall trees do - we begin to see the gifts revealed. They are only visible when we have stripped away the layers of sorrow, discouragement, fear, and disappointment. There in the winter tree we see a surprise. A promise is there waiting for us - the promise of spring, of new life, and faithful love.