As a newly minted cohort in this program, the seeds of transformation and enlightenment are already growing. In our sessions, we have shared personal vignettes of our lives, and reflected on our images of God and what doors we’ve stood before with longing. Some have shared from a place of brokenness that has touched me by their willingness and ability to be vulnerable.
This speaking from a place of brokenness and vulnerability reminds me of a passage from Henri Nouwen, who wrote, “Nobody escapes being wounded. We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.” Instead of hiding from our wounds, he invites us to consider “How can we put our woundedness in the service of others?” and become “wounded healers.”
To serve as a wounded healer, we must be willing to be vulnerable, to be seen and heard as we truly are. Being vulnerable takes us to a new level of connection and relationship with others. When we are vulnerable, we open up space for others to feel safe in expressing and being their true selves also. It is in this shared space that we nurture each other and come to know and discern God’s presence. Spiritual discernment then is listening to the inner still small voice where the Spirit calls us and reveals to us our loving nature.
The sharing among our group of 15 has been meaningful and deep and the program offers a safe space to explore not only where we are in our relationship with the Divine but also to develop a deeper awareness, appreciation, and understanding of Self. In this communal atmosphere and circle of trust that we are developing, we are each sharing a personal story of transformation and being invited to hold each other’s story in reverence and non-judgement.
Our stories reveal much about who we are, what experiences have shaped us, maybe even transformed us. Our stories are intertwined with the lives of others, people who have challenged and encouraged us to grow whether through conflict or harmonious encounters. Clearly, we do not travel this journey alone, as we know from the book of Genesis that God created us to be in companionship with others and did not want us to walk alone.
For as Palmer J. Palmer writes in his book, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, “while solitude is essential to personal integration in which there are places in the landscapes of our lives where no one can accompany us, we are still communal creatures who need each other’s support” and that “we all need other people in whose presence we can speak our soul” and who “invite, amplify, and help us discern the inner teacher’s voice.” While I tend to enjoy solitude and a solitary lifestyle, I am also eager to grow within a community of other seekers and to cultivate friendships that are life-giving. I trust that this communal experience will be enriching and soul-searching at times.
Knowing ourselves, examining our relationship with God, seeking confirmation and insight from others, and paying attention to our feelings are all part of the discernment process. What is your story? What is your story of transformation that has brought you to where you are in your life now? How do you see God’s footprints on the landscape of your life? Are you ready to explore how God is calling you in community with others? When you’re ready, contact us and we will walk with you in your discernment journey.