Over some of the next few newsletters, I’ll be going into a bit more detail about my sabbatical plans for next summer. However, it’s not going to be all about me. Read on.
Several years ago, Greg and I took a cruise in the western Mediterranean. One of our stops was to the ruins of ancient Ephesus. Instead of taking the cruise line’s tour on a large bus with 50 or 60 other people, we sought out a local guide and ended up journeying with some of our new friends from our dinner table. There were 6 of us and our local guide. It was fantastic.
Part of the “fantastic” was the intimacy of being in a small group and the opportunity to have more interaction with our guide. He was from the area, knew the local landscape (including political) well and wasn’t hesitant to express an opinion. He knew some of the backroads…the hidden stories and local lore. He knew the history, both that of ancient Ephesus but also of modern-day Turkey. It ended up being one of the more enjoyable parts of the journey.
It’s helpful to have a guide through many things in life. Sometimes our guides are disguised as friends or co-workers or spouses or therapists or spiritual directors. They listen to the stories we tell about our life. They give space for the questions to emerge about the journey. They point out landmarks like hope, fear, wonder, sadness, pain, and more. They show us things along the way we might miss because we’re so focused on the final destination. They help us explore some of the backroads and hidden wonders of our lives. Who are the guides in your life? How have you been the “local guide” for someone else?
Throughout my sabbatical time, I will be drawing on the wisdom and guidance of a spiritual director as a “local guide” for the journey. Before and after each segment of my time away, I’ll visit with my guide and let them help me understand some of the spiritual dynamics of the journey. I hope to draw from my guide’s wisdom of spirituality and their knowledge of healing from trauma. I’m looking forward to exploring some of the backroads of the spiritual journey through national parks and guest ranches and reunion with extended family members.
I’ll also be drawing on the wisdom of some of the unofficial guides along the way: Greg; a Centered Horsemanship clinician at one of the guest ranches we’ll be visiting; and the other sojourners we meet along the way. I suspect I’ll pick up on some local lore and hidden stories from others on the journey. And, I might just be able to offer something for others.