I loved the fall colors this year. And I “did” fall well. I hiked with my family, I slowed down my car to look at stunning trees, I took my camera on jogs to take photographs, and I lay on the ground and contemplated the colors as the sun shone through the leaves. I noticed. I paused. I watched.
Spiritual Direction is a lot about noticing. It’s about taking time to pause and turning one’s attention to watch. Being in spiritual direction has the potential to help directees develop the ability to discern the activity of God’s Spirit in their lives. It’s a way to create space for deeper watching. It often amazes me how a theme will emerge for directees that seems as clear as glass by the end of a session but was utterly hidden before. The new clarity is often found in silence, or listening prayer, or the careful noticing of a repeated word or subtle tension. It isn’t magic or spiritual tricks, it really is just noticing.
Being a part of the process of spiritual direction with people has convinced me that God really enjoys being noticed. The fall leaves create an apt symbol because their vibrant colors just beg to be noticed, as if they adore our attentiveness. God’s like that. Of course, there’s not a trace of narcissism to God’s wish for our attentiveness. When we are attentive to God, we’re more accurately living the created order of things. God acts, we notice that action. There’s a rightness to it. Things are then as they ought to be. Our trouble is that when we fail to notice we mess up the order of things. We can be tempted to think all kinds of inaccurate things: that life is meaningless, that everything happens because of our human effort, that we’re alone or forgotten. Missing God’s involvement is like sleeping through our own lives. Bottom line, we miss out….like never enjoying a walk during the fall.
When there is a good connection between spiritual director and directee, it can be a bit like hiking with a nature lover through the woods. Just as the leaves call out to be looked at, God’s love in activity calls out to be noticed. If you’re still and quiet long enough, I bet you’ll notice the pull of God’s invitation.
Does this description resonate? Do you have that feeling that God is inviting you to notice? I hope so.