A Reflection

Nov 21 / Kathi Gatlin
I’ve recently embarked on a transitional journey that seems to be inviting a deeper reflection and spaciousness as I continue. I wrote the following words as a reflection on this invitation. I wonder if it will speak to others, so am sharing it here. 

If these words resonate with you, I invite you to read them as a Lectio - reading through them while sitting with what catches you for a few minutes after the first reading. Then through the second reading, sit with what the invitation is for you. As you read through it one last time, sit with your response to what you discovered. 

The Invitation of an Approaching Winter

  our inner invitations are evident 
                    and mirrored even, 
                        in our outer world. 

Several years ago, 
  I had a conversation with a tree, 
    dormant in the midst of winter rains. 

To me, the external frame 
               looked dormant
                    dead even. 

But, as our conversation continued, 
              the tree shared its inner work 
                               in preparation 
                                      for a coming spring. 

The invitation for me at that time 
  was to continue in the inner journey 
                                 with a promise
            of a blossoming spring of growth 
                                         and lush foliage. 

The beauty formed in the hard work of healing 
                                              would come - 
                                                 not by my own making 
                                                                     but formed 
                                                                        in the process
                                                                      of leaning in
                                                 to deep healing. 

As I look back 
 I see the evidence of truth 
   in the tree’s words.
Walking into this season, 
  the gift of this tree’s wisdom 
         offers a renewed invitation. 

My life in transition 
  is an opening for a desire 
    that hasn’t had room or air to breath. 

But in the quiet of my new home, 
  I am aware of my longing 
         to return 
         to the reflective space, 
         named by the seemingly dormant tree, 
         to discover anew the place 
         where I am at home in God and 
                            God is at home in me. 

I’m caught by the mirrored journey 
          in the trees outside my space 
              and the gift viewed in nature. 
A turning in for a time 
          to be turned out again with 
              a renewed wholeness 
                        for continual wonder 
              and an increasing strength rooted 
                       in groundedness. 

For a time, 
  this is the invitation offered 
       and willingly 
       and intentionally 

With a trust discovered in looking back 
                        to recognize 
    the wisdom in the tree’s words. 

And a knowing 
  that even the turning in is enough 
     without the promise 
         of turning out again. 

I wonder what God is inviting you to, during this approaching winter. May I encourage you to spend time reflecting, even in nature, to discover the invitation that is growing in you. 

If you would like to join in a community holding this kind of space, I have a couple of offerings starting in the new year. 

The first is Experiencing God: Creating Space through Contemplative Prayer. This is the first section of the Being Boldly Loved and Loving Boldly series. We will form a community over 12-weeks, sitting with Scripture using a lens of Love to begin to experience ourselves, community and God together. 

The second is a Three-Way Listening series beginning with Listening to God and Ourselves. This series is a way to practice together, in a community of deep listening, and holding space for people. If you want to learn to listen deeply to others in your life or even considering spiritual direction training, this is a good place to begin the journey. 

I’m offering informational sessions to both offerings. If you are interested, please join me in one of the informational sessions - I would love to chat with you!
Kathi Gatlin
Kathi Gatlin co-founded the Companioning Center and founded Boldly Loved to bring together her two greatest passions: spiritual formation and teaching. Walking alongside others in their spiritual journey, whether individually or in groups, brings her immense joy. She loves sharing the contemplative life and exploring ways of understanding God with others. Ultimately, seeing companions grow deeper in their own understanding of who God is and who they are in relationship with God is her faithfulness.
Kathi is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, writer, spiritual formation group facilitator, retreat speaker, leadership mentor, and adjunct professor with George Fox University and Portland Seminary.
Kathi has two grown daughters and five delightful grandchildren. She enjoys coffee, chocolate, deep conversations, reading the mystics, and walking in trees with her Covid puppy, Oliver. http://www.boldlyloved.org