I’m into my fourth day in a new city. I flew into St Louis on Sunday evening, and, to be fair, I haven’t done any of the driving. I’ve had a local who has played the role of tour guide extraordinaire, and I’ve been able to allow myself to be led around the Gateway city.
I’m in St Louis as part of my studies to be a Catholic Spiritual Director. After a very rigorous baptism of study in my first semester, I have now moved on into the Practicum stage. Little did I know when I started graduate school in January how this journey would unfold. I had no maps. I had no compass. And I knew none of my fellow students. In order to navigate these unfamiliar paths I made use of that innate little voice inside each of us known as our sense of direction.
Most of us would agree that some of us are born with a natural ability to find their way around. These people use signs that are invisible to the directionally impaired and seem to work their way through the maze of unknown roads and byways with ease. And then there are those who have difficulty finding their cars in the grocery store parking lot.
I fall into the category of those who would be challenged trying to find their way out of a paper bag. I’d most likely spend a considerable amount of time trying to ascertain how and why I managed to be inside of said bag before I ever got around to navigating my way out. I would search for metaphors for the experience. I would question whether or not there was a lesson to be learned that those blithely moving through life seeming to know where they were going, were missing out on. And I’d probably look deeply inside myself to determine how I felt about being on the inside.
There are advantages to being able to find your way through the labyrinth of a new city, but that is not one of my natural talents. Time and study will have little effect upon that situation. But isn’t it just like our paradoxical Creator to call one of his children so obviously deficient in a physical sense of direction to the ministry of guiding others in finding within themselves the paths that will lead them in the direction of a deeper relationship with God? I am honored and humbled to part of this blessed irony.