“... the best guides are willing to be silent yet present, and are comfortable with unknowing.”
— HENRI NOUWEN (1932–1996)
EVERY HEALTHY PERSON comes around eventually to this fundamental truth: we all need a counsellor, whether paid or unpaid. We all need wise guides who have the role of quietly speaking the truth into our lives – and the best of those work in the paradoxical fashion of dealing in the silence and in the unanswerable. They hold the moment and they show us that silence is friend. They are dutiful and dependable, trustworthy to the ends (by whatever means necessary) of their work with us. They are our cheer squad and our accountability partner, but neither overtly. We always have that sense of safety when we are with them.
Journeying into the Unknown, Willingly & Without Hesitation
What we all need more of is the capacity to venture into the unknown. This is why faith is a necessity to live a life that is full of mystery.
People may ask, “Why is it so necessary to venture into the unknown?” What is a fair enough question should be blatantly obvious. There are so many things in this life we have no answer for – and will never, in this life, have an answer for. If that answers the question, and I hope it does, let us move on:
Journeying into the unknown is an unsavoury prospect. We don’t want to go there. So we are best trained in seeing the benefits and being shown the process so we can do it for ourselves, willingly, enthusiastically, without hesitation. Such a thing has to be experienced firsthand. We have to journey into the awkwardness; to go volitionally into the pain or discomfort that such a commitment requires. Venturing into a place of nothingness – or what seems a void of anything meaningful – by faith – brings us to a surprising reality. We meet ourselves there. We are closer to God there. We are proximal to the truth, there. Being there is the centrepiece of life. Once we have been there, going back there is not so hard.
What we need most in our counsellors and spiritual guides is a fellow venturer. We need someone who will go with us, through training us, and who will accompany us, into the vast unknown that is the wilderness of our hearts. They, too, will share, by example, their own sense of vulnerability. They are safely vulnerable people.
He or she is there for you,
There’s no doubt about it,
They help us to hold to what is true,
And in that they help us sit.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.