by Carolyn Kolovitz
I have several directees in their 20s which has me imagining what life might have been like if I had a spiritual director when I was that age.
I vividly remember the energy and angst of launching after college – on fire to make a big splash in the world, while paralyzed with uncertainty about how to do it.
(It didn’t help that I had much less self-awareness than my current millennial and post-millennial directees.)
I imagine Kay, Joanne, Liz – lovingly wise women I now know were spiritual directors back then – entering my life, deeply listening to my jumble of contradictory thoughts and saying:
I see the beautiful soul you are.
I see the Sacred in your journey, in each of its crazy twists and turns.
What an amazing message that would have been.
By my 20s, I had built sturdy walls around myself – walls I now realize made perfect sense given the traumas I carried – but at the time I barely noticed the walls were there, and when I did I thought they were a personal failing. I thought I WAS the walls.
Now I imagine someone peeking through to the scared, radiant soul veiled within –
not a therapist looking to fix (although therapy certainly is great too, as long as the therapist doesn’t think living in awareness of the transcendent is a symptom, a problem)
– but a spiritual director focused on seeing the Sacred within and around and connecting me to all that is.
When I was 23, I had a life-altering spiritual experience.
Fortunately, even without a spiritual director I never doubted what happened, but it would have been wonderful to talk with someone who understood the gravity of the gift I received and that it could become a burden.
Later that same year, I had a profound nighttime dream – I died and God asked me a question that would determine my eternal existence. There was nobody to help me explore that Divine question and so I explored it myself – leaping off in one wild direction and then another…
and that’s okay, it was my journey –
not having a spiritual director in my 20s was of course okay, yet how cool would it have been if I did.
Like many young adults, I sensed my connection to Divine Love. I meditated, journaled, explored various spiritual paths and traditions
(and then I went off the rails for awhile, severing my attention to the Sacred, my authentic self….)
before ultimately discovering all wisdom paths lead to the same Spirit.
THAT was a fantastic discovery!
So, it all worked out, even without a spiritual director. But in my imagination, it feels wonderful to gift my younger self with one.
Do you know a 20-something who might like a spiritual companion? Tell them about Loyola. Whether or not they follow a faith tradition, if they are drawn to exploring life’s deeper questions then spiritual direction might be a welcome next step of their journey.