I hate road trips. I hate them even more after driving nearly 1,800 miles this week. If you ever have a chance to drive between Las Crucas, NM and Austin, TX, don’t! But this week’s trip was a good one for me. Actually, it was potentially life-changing. Why? Because I mande this trip with my friend, Don. He is a kind of spiritual director for me and a lot of other men my age. Don is the father of two adult children, works for a non-profit and can afford the time to drive cross-country by virtue of being married to a wonderful woman who is also a physician. But what makes Don special is his honesty. He is honest with others, yes. But his honesty about himself gives his words an authenticity and truthfulness that all of us need in our lives.
As we drove and talked, I unpacked my entire ministry career – successes, learnings, failures, regrets, celebrations, and everything else imaginable. We did the same with my family of origin and my current family. And each subject was wrapped in discussions and processes of spiritual formation. These conversations are far too infrequent in Christian churches where pseudo-spirituality and fluffy-likability are exalted over genuine struggle and grasping for God. This is where spiritual direction can be helpful. As I reflect on the drive, I am reminded why everyone needs a spiritual director.