into the unknown is never comfortable for me. During a spiritual
direction session, God invited me to become a full-time spiritual
director and teacher of healing prayer. My response was an intense inner
dialogue with God in which I clearly listed the reasons this was not a
good idea. God listened. When my heart finally said, “Yes,” God
responded, “Then I will walk with you.”
did not understand that mystical experience, I trusted God and
surrendered to my next steps. The result was to leave my paid position
as youth minister after almost 17 years.
weeks after my last Sunday, I went on a retreat and while there I walked
a labyrinth. As I moved slowly on the path toward the center, I had a
sudden realization that my life was over. In a flash I experienced my
death — the death of life as I had lived it all these years; it was
gone. As I approached the center of the labyrinth, I fully embraced the
loss of my life as I had known it. My body felt a sense of death and I
while as I stood in the center, I sensed the presence of God filling me.
I raised my head, looked out toward the mountains and said, “God, it’s
really just you and me, isn’t it? So, since I’m still breathing and
alive, what’s next?”
response was a simple word. “Surrender.”
inside I felt something in my heart, body and mind relax, release and
let go. I acknowledged my life was over and accepted I had no idea what
was next. As the sun set, I turned and slowly walked out of the
labyrinth. In that act of surrender to God, I entered a new world, a
world I did not know, a way of being I could not describe; and I felt
morning God began to surprise me with experiences of joy. A friend in
Germany called me on Skype; we had not talked in almost two years. A
Reiki master I initiated e-mailed after we lost contact for 15 years.
Former youth found me on Facebook. New people came into my life. My
spiritual direction practice began to grow as new people found their way
to my office. Congregations scheduled Reiki and healing prayer classes
for their members. I was filled with awe and wonder at God’s abundance.
deeper awareness, I noticed my life continues to unfold in new ways. My
mind, heart and body are adjusting to a new reality, a new way of being
in the presence of God, a new way of trusting the divine mystery of life
— a way filled with joy and freedom.
experienced the death of my life as it was and now I know God is
dramatically present when I listen, surrender and open to my next step.
Elaine Andres is a spiritual director and Reiki master and an ordained
minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This column is
coordinated by Lane Interfaith Alliance to offer inspiration, share
personal spiritual experiences and bring a deeper understanding of
individual faith perspectives with the intention of blessing our
community and the world. For information, visit
www.laneinterfaithalliance.org or call 541-344-0430.
FROM HEART TO HEART