This past week was very full for me. In addition to work with several editing and coaching clients, spiritual guidance sessions, and retreat leadership planning, I participated in multiple sessions of the first week of this year’s Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction. The program runs for two weeks in February and two in April, and I’m fortunate to be on the faculty and the leadership team.

I’m teaching some new-to-me classes at Hesychia this year, which has been a great opportunity to stretch and grow. I’m also sitting in on some classes for multiple reasons, including my own continuing education and stimulation after more than 25 years of doing this ministry. It’s been a blessed week, but also has meant I’ve worked well into more than one evening.

Yet the Spirit gifts us with moments of blessing even when our lives are full. The key is to notice, slow down, and pay attention when those gifts show up. On Wednesday afternoon, as I was returning to our meeting room after lunch to look over my notes for an afternoon presentation, I passed a rock fountain merrily bubbling away. Yes, it’s winter, but here in the Sonoran Desert, it seldom gets below freezing (although it did a few nights last week!).

As I walked by, I noticed a bunch of dark dots on the light gray stones and stopped to figure out what they were. They were bees, gathered to capture precious moisture from the random secondary splashes of the fountain. This can be dangerous business, as evidenced by several dead bees floating in the water at the base of the fountain. You see, bees aren’t buoyant and can’t land on the water to drink. Instead, they need to land where ricocheting water moistens nearby rocks at a level they can drink without drowning. It’s a delicate dance.

This week, many of our Hesychia students may feel they’re being pounded by an oversized fountain. Sometimes it seems like too much and they can be in danger of drowning, spiritually, emotionally, and/or psychologically. It’s important to be present to and supportive of them on this interior journey, as well as filling their heads and hearts with the wisdom and experience we are privileged to share. That’s one reason why we’ve added a 24-hour Day of Prayer between each two-week segment, in the hopes of giving them at least some additional rest and balance, and a chance to drink without drowning.

So now I have this image of our students gathered like bees on stones, capturing what nourishment they can while we help them stay away from the dangerous edges of the deeper pool. They’ll go home with lots of resources for further sipping in the weeks ahead. It’s important for me to remember too that they can only safely absorb so much at a time. It’s a delicate dance.

When in your life have you felt you were being pounded by an oversized fountain, or drowning, spiritually, emotionally, and/or psychologically? How did you receive support? Have you learned to let some of it go and trust you can sip more slowly later? In what areas of your life do you need those lessons now?

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