by Ivy Clark
Place and time characterize our story’s historical meanings and social and cultural coherence. They whisper our sense of belonging and hold the continuity of our identity. As much as time feels finite, tangible, measurable and chronological, and the world relates, measures, and controls it through a numeric currency of tik-tok tik-tok tik-tok, I find time’s cadence, movements, and capacity much more fluid, circular and uncertain, as it synchronizes with the heartbeat of the Holy One, who authors time and dwells in and outside it.
As a spiritual director offering holy listening with a non-anxious presence for directees, I am drawn to place and time’s ever-changing geometry and autonomy. First is the directee’s cerebral embodiment of the physicalities of their place and time that is finite. Second, paralleled by an indissolvable dimension unbridled from the metaphysics of place and time, where the past, present and future are wholly and eternally present, open for Spiritual orientation and transcendence. These two dimensions of place and time interact and correspond continuously to each other, transmitting and interpreting, renewing and reviving meanings for the directee’s identity and story sealed in God.
Witnessing my directees’ sacred stories has been a holy ground for me. In my silence, I pray for “a listening ear that can see” (Howard Thurman). I sense that the deep in God calls me to cross the boundaries of my place and time, orienting my wholeness and sensitivity toward my directee’s journey, their identity, lived experiences and worldviews, etc. Spiritual direction, in many ways, feels like a repeated voyage of crossing over to the directee and returning to myself. God’s “shamar*”is offered and received each time I return with a deeper seeing of myself, yielding a deeper seeing of the directee. I have been on a journey of patient trust, holding my directee in the unbridled Spirit, the host that shows the way. Ivy Clark Reflection Journal Entry – Aug. 2023 2 of 2
This circular, grace-filled, emancipating and expanding experience with the parallel dimensions of space and time that ground us, and liberate us, enable us to encounter the trustworthy God, impregnated with wonder, love and action for Her children, makes spiritual direction a spacious and wildly God-centered journey for those who pilgrim it.
(*Hebrew “shamar”: to exercise great care of, to guard, observe, preserve …)
Books I am deeply savouring this summer:
• Kaleidoscope – Broadening the Palette in the Art of Spiritual Direction (I am rereading it for the second time)
• Our Unforming – De-Westernizing Spiritual Formation (by Cindy Lee) (I am rereading it for the second time)
• The Land – Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith
• The Promised End – Eschatology in Theology and Literature (by Paul S. Fiddes)
• Inklings of Heaven – C.S. Lewis and Eschatology (by Sean Connolly)
• Shakespeare’s Shakespeare – How the Plays Were Made (by John C. Meagher)
• The Tempest (I studied it in junior high school. Now re-reading it with my deep curiosity about the illusive concept of space, time and the last things.)