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"Between Dreams" – Gifts from a Wise Mentor

Posted on October 5th, 2012

I spent the day yesterday with Leighton Ford, a mentor of mine for the past 30 years.  Leighton again shared out of his life as he approaches his 81st birthday and looks forward to another five years of encouraging mentoring communities around the world. The following are a few golden nuggets from our time: 1. The time “between dreams” is perhaps the most important in the spiritual journey. Alan Jones, in Exploring Spiritual Direction, writes: “If we are willing to wait in the darkness “between dreams,” a larger and wider reality appears and life’s dream takes on richer images and more liberating structures. It’s often at a place such as “between dreams” that a guide, a friend, or spiritual director can wait with us in a dark place until a new way of looking at things emerges for us. Many a marriage, for example, turns sour and dies precisely at the point of its greatest possible growth, when old images and structures have to be discarded and the new have yet to emerge.”    Leighton is able to point to two particularly critical, and lengthy, seasons in which God slowly birthed new opportunities and shifted his life. It is a gift to listen to the long, nuanced perspective of a sixty-year journey with Christ. 2.  Many times, “you win by losing and lose by winning.” 3. There are three calls in life: the call to our true name (not the one given to us by our family or culture), to pruning (letting go), and to transformation (when we live our true name). He continues to experience all three at 80 years old. 4. Why is there suffering in leadership? There is disorder in the world. Something is out of balance. Only meeting that pain and taking it into our interior can it be drained of its power. When we face pain and allow it to have its course in our lives, it is redemptive. Paul writes, “I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regards to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church” (Col.1:25). It is in the pain of childbirth that a child is born. I will have to ponder this. 5. “Maker of all things…let me hold on to the edge of your robe as you determine what must be lost and what will be saved.” from Maker of All Things, Even Healings, by Mary Oliver.

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