I spent an hour each day this past week accompanying a college student through a retreat-in-daily-life experience. I am so glad that I did.
The retreat, sponsored by the university's Catholic student ministries, took place mostly in a Presbyterian church near the campus. Last night I spent a few minutes hanging out in the kitchen with two of the other spiritual directors, whom I know from other contexts. "It's hard to know," I said, "in this process of grief, when to push yourself to move forward and when not." "One day, one hour at a time," said one of the other women, confirming my experience. "Sometimes you'll be able to say 'Yes' to things, and other times you'll know to say, "No way.'"
I am truly surrounded. They are all around me, nudging me, encouraging me, telling me that the ice beneath my feet is more solid than it feels. I keep checking in, trusting that someone will say something if I extend myself too far. But so far what I am hearing, from people in my church and Presbytery, from people at seminary, from people in my spiritual direction comunity, from my family and friends, is that I am on the right path back into the world.
I have a meeting at seminary next week. I meet with my Committee on Preparation for Ministry (Presby-speak for the folks who supervise my progress toward ordination) next month. I've been a spiritual director this week. I can only do these things because other people offer me opportunities, read what I write, hear what I say, bring me soup, and circle the wagons in countless other ways. I truly am surrounded.