The moment I walked in the door I had an old, familiar feeling. I walked straight to the living area that has the most spectacular view of the ocean – a beautiful, sparkling, turquois blanket with sea grasses of plenty, blowing in the breeze, that frame this view.
It is the place I came to when I was feeling broken and had no idea how to put myself back together. I had been ordered to bed rest for six to eight weeks and to do nothing but rest, de-stress, and engage in only the things that brought me joy. It was simply put, “Life or death: you choose.” So I did just that; I chose.
I went to the sea to rest and not think. I let myself feel what I felt, and I worked a little each day because my work is one of the greatest joys in my life. I engage daily with clients guiding them to possibilities of renewal with God’s healing grace, love, and light. And that is what gave me the strength to choose life over death. I was prompted to share this cliff note version of my experience with you because I constantly meet people in the depths of great pain and confusion who feel like they are dying. Sometimes there are no words to explain the despair that shows in their eyes.
For a spiritual director to witness her clients, who are so tender and vulnerable, traverse the darkness is most humbling, especially since I have been in that darkness myself. In the beginning, my words about death and resurrection to clients who are so raw can fall only on deaf ears. It takes time to accept death because we are accustomed to the life we know. Thus, after death we must pass through a confusing period during which our natural impulses keep pulling us back to a life that is over. What I know to be true is that it takes a long time before we can even imagine living a new life. But if we hold hope, trust the new path before us, and stay that course in faith, we find new life.
The beautiful poet David Whyte writes, “Start close in. Don’t take the second step or third. Start with the first thing, close in, the step you don’t want to take.” I stayed the course for those eight weeks and started “close in.” The condo by the sea was a beautiful space for me to process and start healing. As I recently entered the condo once again, I glanced out at the sea from the very spot where I could barely breathe, and for the first time breathed this incredible gift of resurrection and transcendence. It was time to pay homage and give gratitude. Welcome home.