Recently, someone shared a story with me of a city construction worker digging a ditch on a cold, damp, dreary day. With each shovel full of dirt thrown out of the hole, the woman sank deeper in. Her attitude was rather dark, as she considered how unfortunate she was to have to be out in such unpleasant weather.
She thought to herself, “What an un-inspiring day”, as she stood covered with dirt, waist-deep in the damp hole.
Eventually, one shovel-full caught the attention of a single bird, which landed on the mound. Picking his way through the dirt, the bird found a juicy worm, which he immediately ate; and then he began to sing. The woman watched as the bird continued to celebrate his fortunate find on a nearby, low-hanging branch. She thought to herself, “If that bird can be that happy – on a day like this, by simply finding a worm in a pile of dirt, surely I can find something to sing about”, and he began to hum.
Sometimes we’re sent a little messenger with an explicit life message.
Other times God may bring someone into our lives to accompany us on our spiritual journey; someone who can help us notice the many ways God shows up in our lives.
That city worker may have simply finished her job and grumpily made her way home. But the bird changed everything for her in that moment and in her work. How often do we do this?
All too often we miss the subtle ways God speaks or is revealed to us or guides us along the way. We all need a guide to help us pay attention to what we may otherwise miss.
A Spiritual Director, sometimes called a “Spiritual Friend” or “Guide”, can walk with us along the path of our spiritual lives, to help us discern God’s still small voice and to see where and how God may be working to transform our lives. By ourselves, we may not always sense God’s gentle way of nurturing our hearts and leading us forward.
In our next article, we’ll share more about how the spiritual life is about noticing and seeing.