Spiritual Direction: Airing things

The other day someone called me an earth mother. As I am the mother of seven
children, that’s fairly common. I have a penchant for things organic—food and
otherwise. I seem to learn a lot of lessons through simple everyday experiences.

Just recently, I decided to celebrate the return of the summer sun by hanging out the
laundry. First, I needed to open the umbrella clothesline. What should have been a
five-minute task stretched into twenty minutes and then an hour. I even watched a
you tube video.

The clothesline was all a tangle. No matter how hard I forced it, the umbrella would
not open. So I prayed. After a few failed attempts, I followed every line until at last I
was able to extend the arms.

In the midst of that I was reminded that sometimes life seems to be all tangled up.
For starters, there are all those unanswerable questions: Why do young parents die
and sick old people linger? Why are some people hungry while others are fed to

How can one person enjoy a glass of wine with dinner when for another addiction
impoverishes? Why are some of the most brilliant people I know devastated by

Spiritual direction offers a quiet place to talk about that kind of thing.
We sit one on one in a private space. We begin with a prayer. We eventually follow
one line of questions. While I was able to untangle the clothesline, we may not come
to an immediate logical conclusion. Nonetheless, talking with someone who listens
without judgment or forced answers seems to lessen the twin burdens of doubt and

Sometimes things just need some airing.