Two Chairs Under the Skylight

I walk across the parking lot and my spiritual director greets me with a hug at the door. We exchange small talk as we enter the quiet chapel and arrange two chairs under the skylight. We sit, and she invites me to close my eyes and mentally set aside the business of the day.

Chapel1AI breathe slowly and try to empty my mind of my to-do list.

After a time of silence, she offers a prayer or maybe a chant. She invites me to speak when I am ready and tell the story that is in my heart.

And we start.

Sometimes, I come to these monthly meetings with a question on my mind, a thought from a reading, or an experience I want to share. Other times, I just come, and something comes to mind.

We talk about my own spiritual practice. Frequently, we discussed my experience preparing for and participating in the Wellspring program.

She asks questions that help me find my way. She suggests different ways to look at the world. She offers wisdom from spiritual teachers from many traditions.

We talk until the hour is almost up. She gives me homework: Try a daily prayer of gratitude. Try something that is outside your comfort zone. Here is a book you might like. Here is a chant you might want to try.

At the end, we sit in silence for a few more minutes, and then she invites me to offer a prayer. In silence, my stumbling brain tries to write and edit a prayer. Oh well, just say something. It comes out all right.

Through this hour of quiet meditation, reflection and prayer, I gain strength. I gain in compassion. I gain in love.

And I am changing; I have glimpses of a different way of looking at the world. A prayer does not need to be offered to a God that I am not sure exists. The word “God” can embrace all the love and wonder and mystery in the universe that we live in. My life’s journey does not need to be defined by the goals at the end but by the moments of grace along the way.

We make an appointment for next month, put our chairs back in their rows, walk to the parking lot and say goodbye. I drive off, back into the human race and the swirl of daily life, but with a stronger resolve to be fully present and make the most of the journey.

The writer is president of First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany (NY).

2 Responses to “Two Chairs Under the Skylight”

  1. Rev. Jen Crow

    Peg, thank you for such a lovely description of spiritual direction. May we all keep growing in love and strength and compassion.

  2. Jaye Holly

    Thank you Peggy for an eloquently beautiful reflection on your Wellspring journey. I look forward to taking part in the Wellspring program soon.


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