Today is the first in a series of Women’s Spiritual Journaling gatherings at a local shelter. For me, this represents an exciting, new ministry – and also vulnerability. To show up and report for duty, as I have been taught. Hoping and trusting that the Holy Spirit will show up, too. Leaving the results up to God and the beautiful women who walk through the door.
My ego-driven self got sidetracked for a brief spell and threatened to overcome the real, living me with suggestions of last-minute reading to see how “the experts” would facilitate such a thing. Not a major derailment by any stretch, just that irritating chatter that likes to crash the party.
But then, also unbidden but definitely most welcomed, I heard those words I’ve heard before, coming in a gentle whisper. In a breeze that traveled stealthily from the Serengeti Plain to my open heart. Stand tall. Be the giraffe. Own and express you gifts, and help others to do the same. The prep work has already been done – it is called living a life of ongoing recovery and discovery.
Bravely uncovering and discovering the stories of our lives, both the surface narrative and the journey between the lines, brings grief and loss as well as joy and gratitude. This process delivers on a promise that our 12 Step friends experience again and again: our past invariably proves to be one of our greatest assets.
Our stories – including those parts that have been nightmarish or uncomfortable — are riches to be mined and shared. In community, we discover our stories are woven into a much larger, expansive narrative, and we are never alone. In community, we are graced to dream new dreams. And, with God’s help and the love of each other, we are graced to live into them.