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Hospitality for the Soul

November 29, 2013

In 1995 I was serving as a short term missionary in Guatemala. Before returning to Canada our team decided to climb VOLCAN DE AGUA – a volcano overlooking the city of Antigua, with an elevation of 12,600 feet. In order to do the climb, we had to find a partner. Although the climb wasn't dangerous, it was physically grueling.

by Michelle Newsham

It was the hardest physical endeavor I have ever taken on.  Because the climb was so difficult, partners had to be completely committed to each other on the journey.  This included walking at the same speed, not getting separated, and stopping when the other person needed to rest.  It meant that whatever your partner endured or encountered, you were right there in it with them.  My partner's name was Christine and she was a gift from God. She was with me, completely present to me in the challenge, in the pain (huge blisters! burning lungs!), in the need to persevere, in the resting, in the wanting to give up, in the uncertainties, in the things I learned about myself, in the incredible exhilaration as we triumphantly stood at the top.  Christine never carried me, never left me, never berated me or gave up on me.  She just walked with me, literally every step of the way.  I wouldn't have made it to the top of the volcano without her.

Spiritual direction is like that.  We are all on a journey – sometimes a grueling one!  A spiritual director accompanies us on that journey – becoming a sacred companion - present in the challenge, in the pain, in the perseverance, in the resting, in the learning, in the uncertainties, and in the celebrations.  I like to think of spiritual direction as hospitality for the soul.  A spiritual director offers safe and sacred space where encounter with God can take place.  "Spiritual directors serve as a resting place for those who want to savor God's loving presence and explore God's seeming absence" (Maureen Conroy, Looking into the Well, p. 3).  We were never meant to make the journey alone.  It is meant to be shared.  One of the ways of sharing the journey is in spiritual direction.  It is a "one-on-one relationship organized around prayer and conversation directed toward deepen-ing intimacy with God… [Spiritual directors] seek to help those with whom they journey, discern the presence and leading of the Spirit of God – the One Jesus sent as our true Spiritual Director" (David Benner, Sacred Companions, p. 17).

Who will benefit from spiritual direction?  Anyone who desires a deeper relationship with God; people desiring to deepen and broaden their prayer experience; those in seasons of transition, change or discernment.  What can you expect in a spiritual direction session?  You can expect to be listened to deeply; to encounter and recognize God in your life stories and experiences; to discover ways of creating breadth and depth on your journey.

Receiving spiritual direction has been such a gift for me, just like Christine in the climb up Volcan de Agua. I'm so glad I don't have to make the journey alone.


If you are interested in finding a spiritual director, contact Michelle at King's Fold and she can recommend several – around Calgary and elsewhere.  If you are interested in seeing a spiritual director during your retreat at King's Fold, please let us know when you book.