Where the Map Begins
©Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons. janrichardson.com
This is not any map you know. Forget longitude. Forget latitude. Do not think of distances or of plotting the most direct route. Astrolabe, sextant, compass: these will not help you here.
This is the map that begins with a star. This is the chart that starts with fire, blazing, with an ancient light that has outlasted generations, empires, cultures, and wars.
Look starward once, then look away. Close your eyes and see how the map begins to blossom behind your lids, how it constellates, its line stretching out from where you stand.
You cannot see it all, cannot divine the way it will turn and spiral, cannot perceive how the road you walk will lead you finally inside, through the labyrinth of your own heart and belly and lungs.
But step out, and you will know what the wise who traveled this path before you knew; the treasure of this map is buried not at the journey's end but its beginning.
How often have we looked up at the night sky and pondered where God might dwell. After all, the astrologers consulted stars before setting out on their journey to honor the newborn king. For those who have not experienced a spiritual retreat or practiced spiritual disciplines, this is a journey that a person cannot intellectually create. The only trust that we are held in God’s hands as we let go and experience God’s heart speaking to our own.
We can prepare for this fresh awareness of the sacred by honestly looking at our deepest concerns, priorities, and passions and mapping our hearts. Draw a heart shape on paper and plot out what is important. Move away from diagrams of the constellations, the earth, country, state, city, and directions of how we get from place to place. Pick any day or maybe a week and jot down those things that occupy your hours. Please realize this exercise is individual - just for each of you - and there is no right or wrong. We are not considering how something might be profane, sacred, or just an unexamined perspective.
It would be a good idea to find something to journal in. We will write down thoughts that come to us. Complete sentences are optional as long as the words evoke that memorable insight. A 50-cent spiral or a hardbound book with a favorite quote works fine. Mine is meaningful for me. It reminds me that "I Am Enough" looks like this. I encourage you to use yours only for reflections as you engage in spiritual practices.
Our goal over these coming weeks is to initiate our awareness of how God sees the events of our lives. While we may see them as linear, chronological, and sometimes exhausted at the end of the day, we will eventually unfold each day in sacred time, God's time, Kairos time in Greek, and purpose filled. Walk with me on this journey of engaging deeply with God.