What Is Being with Between?

You are there.  I am there.  And Jesus was there. 

In between. 

Named or not, we are always in between.  We live and move in spaces between awareness, knowing, and action. 

It is a gift when something grabs us or tips us off to the need to focus on a question or reality.  That awareness drives us to figure out what insights or clarity will provide information, assurance, and guidance.  If we gain such knowing, the challenge becomes exploring how that calls us.  Attention, patience, and discernment in that period can lead to understanding the action required.

The fully human Jesus was often in between. 

Jesus had to become more aware of His calling as the Son of God.  He learned He was beloved in His baptism.  He nurtured relationship with God in the wilderness.  He felt the power of His first miracle.

Jesus spent time with people to know their needs and limitations.  He touched and healed.  He wept.  He knew trust and betrayal.  He was shaped by experience and discernment. 

Jesus acted on His understanding of the coming kingdom.  He defended the weak and challenged injustice.  He empowered disciples.  His journey to the cross began the defining transition of His life – and the Christian faith.    

We are not so different from the human Jesus in our desires and struggles – and in learning to co-create with God.  We are not alone in the many in betweens.  God is in those spaces and knows our needs.  And sometimes, it can help to have others there.      

My heart is with those sensing a call, pull, or energy hinting at new possibility.  I have learned to pay attention in the spaces between.  I know the terrain.  Because of my journey, I offer companionship as others walk their own paths of growth and meaning. Being with Between supports individuals and groups as they explore calling, discernment, and transition in the spaces between.

As you honor awareness of God, may you open to new spaces.

Welcoming ALL of Transition

Transition is more than change.  Transition requires focus on the deep, emotional aspects of change.  Its about exploring the shifts within you that are prompted by shifts around you.  It requires trusting how that attention can lead to growth - not just acceptance and coping.

Earlier this year, I led a day of reflection for a group representing a handful of churches in Ottawa, Canada.  The goal was to pay attention to how changes in the larger church provide opportunities to engage how churches can be in the future.  People gathered to imagine how that could shape transition in creative ways, and foster deep growth as individuals and communities.

The day made space for listening, reflection, and new awareness. And while there was lively conversation and laughter, there was also some sharing of pain and unfulfilled needs.  It was hard, but necessary.  This group was honoring all of transition.  

These people were welcoming the deeper, emotional, hard realities of change. In doing so, they were opening to a more complete experience. They were inviting everything that makes them who they are - and who they can become. They were being vulnerable and supportive, trusting in a fuller transition and more creative approaches to growth.

Many attendees had views of church, community, needs, and possibility changed.  Opening to transition offered greater awareness of shifts - within and without - to pursue with others.  As one person said:  “It wasn’t what I expected…it was much more.”  

May that be so with your transitions.  

Explore what transition can mean to you in a weekly Transition Group this fall (2016) at The Carpenter’s House. 

Coracle: "To Meet and Be Met by God"

In past years, I’ve nurtured a special relationship with Bill Haley and Coracle in Shenandoah, Virginia.  Coracle is a non-profit organization that exists to inspire and enable people to be the presence of God in the world by offering spiritual formation and Kingdom action. Bill, his wife Tara, and others do this through spiritual direction, retreats, sacramental ministry, pilgrimage, communication, ministries of mercy and justice, mission trips, and creation care.

Corhaven is the 17 acre “retreat farm” where Bill and his family live and offer space for retreats, seminars, and more.  It has become a place I simply must go regularly to listen and be reminded of God’s desire for relationship with me.  

I often have spiritual directees looking for places to explore silent or lightly guided retreating for the first time.  Corhaven is where I suggest.  The place has a very special feel, and the vision is in line with how I try to create space for others.  Corhaven offers much to those being called to deeper silence for inner work, as well as those seeking opportunities to engage with others around spiritual growth.    

In all that is offered, you will find welcome and support for Coracle’s desire to help you “meet and be met by God.”

If you want to nurture relationship with God by embracing nature, contemplation, mission, mystery and more, check out what Coracle has to offer.  

"Calling is a Burden to Love"

Calling can often seem abstract, but yesterday’s lunch discussion at the Potter’s House was very real.  That was because of the diversity of ages and experiences around the table, and a willingness to be vulnerable.  We spanned from 20 to 80 something, with middle age and later decades represented. And we talked about pain.    

Whereas other conversations this summer have been more about the future and how to discern where God is calling us, this one looked more at the past.  It brought up tough things - death, anger, loss of control - that made the time very rich and challenging.  These realities of life helped us consider different perspectives on calling.

A summary of what we were naming came from our youngest participant:

     “Calling is a burden to love”  

We had talked about how calling can be confusing and demanding, but mainly how that affects us personally and how we struggle with knowing and following. His comment, however, came after we talked about the call to love others in ways that sacrifice our own needs and desires; in ways that stretch us and require us to extend beyond comfort and control.  

That way of life is a burden.  It is the burden Jesus carried.  To love is a burden. It is hard, confusing, demanding - and mysteriously beautiful.  It is our highest calling.  

With gratitude for those yesterday who reminded me of the breadth and depth of this calling thing.  With gratitude that the need for faith and trust was always part of our time.       

Burning Houses

“Who can save a child from a burning house without taking the risk of being hurt by the flames? … Who can take away suffering without entering it?” (Henri Nouwen, Wounded Healer)

If you are called to care for others, you will witness struggle and pain. Therefore, you must learn to care for yourself so you can stay healthy and serve well.  That requires finding ways to name and work with your pain.  

Sometimes your greatest gift to another is that you have experienced similar pain, have honored what that has set off, and can use that awareness to relate to their experience.  That does not mean you can fully understand their unique struggle or change what they are going through.  But it does mean you can bear witness in special ways.  

If you have entered your own pain, you may find yourself empowered to enter the suffering of others in deeper ways.  Perhaps that does take away some suffering.         

Have you played a special role in holding another’s pain because of your own experience? What was that like?  Is it relevant for your calling?