When I describe what spiritual direction is, including how trauma plays a role in someone’s life, there is often a general response of, “That’s good.” But unless they’ve experienced it for themselves, rarely is anyone astounded. Rarely does anyone respond with, “How powerful!” And that is just fine. Companioning is not a glorious path. It is messy, and slow, and often dark. That does not make it any less of a gift. To be present with someone and witness them facing their fears and struggles, witness them glimpsing light in the distance, watching them bask in the warmth of new found Presence or perhaps just getting comfortable with Darkness, and to get to say, “Remember…”. What more could we ask for?
As spiritual directors, walking with those who have survived a disaster in any form, we are a people of small steps. We look at the wound and we don’t flinch. We weep for the broken heart. We appreciate and celebrate the hidden work. We know that it sometimes requires more energy and faith to take a small step than it does to make a mighty leap. Our work may not always seem astounding to others, but we are witnessing miracles nonetheless.
Spiritual Direction:Wisdom For the Long Walk of Faith, by Henri Nouwen
Erin Jantz received her Master’s Degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from the Institute for Spiritual Formation. She also holds a B.A. in developmental psychology and has furthered her education with trainings in trauma care from Boston University and intensives with Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk. She has been practicing spiritual direction since 2012, helped to author ICTG's Spiritual Formation Resource Guide, and also teaches and speaks on a variety of spiritual formation topics. Erin lives in Southern California with her husband and their four marvelous children.