Monk in the World Guest Post: Debby Bellingham

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Debby Bellingham’s reflection on trusting that God will speak.

I recently moved to the Hudson River Valley of New York and I am awed and beguiled by the beauty of the seasons, each with it’s unique wonder. In California seasons were days on a calendar, not events to be experienced. My home in San Francisco had variations on one season: cool, windy and foggy.

It is autumn in New York. I look west over the Hudson River at the trees blazing with color illuminated by the setting sun, and I have a burning-bush type encounter with God. God spoke to Moses at the site of that burning bush, giving him a role to play in the great  story of God’s love for humankind; a new direction for his life, one he felt inadequate to fulfill, but compelled to attempt. Moses’ experience is my own.

Left behind in San Francisco is my psychotherapy practice, my work with people as their spiritual director and some significant but taxing relationships. Waiting for me in New York is the question that has nagged me every few years during my entire adult life, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Translation: What is in store for me during this next season in my life? How am I to spend my time? What is my new role in unfolding God’s great story of love for humankind?

These questions are not heavy or oppressive, demanding an immediate answer; they are just there, hanging around my consciousness, ever present and patient.

Within a week of moving to New York I found a beautiful state park for my weekly runs. Open and vast, I can run there every day and never run the same trail twice. Great varieties of trees, still lakes with lily pads and swans, squirrels and chipmunks scampering and chirping, all welcome and accompany me on my run. There was no such experience in urban San Francisco. At times, I just stop and breathe in the wonder. My spirit seems to expand with each passing run. The glory of nature, the freedom of having no set agenda (at least for now) the newness of the setting hydrate my dried out soul.

A new energy emerges, one that opens doors to creativity. I enroll in an art class and a writing class. I set aside time each morning to pursue these more right brain activities. I feel life and enthusiasm return. Mary Oliver writes in one of her poems: “The vivacity of what was is married to the vitality of what will be.” The questions remain unanswered, but I am approaching the burning bush and trust God will speak.


Debby Bellingham lives in the Hudson Valley of New York, with her husband and her two dogs. She is a spiritual director, a psychotherapist, an author, pastor and retreat director, and friend. She blogs at www.thementoredlife.com and offers a daily prayer to subscribers. Contact her at debbybellingham@gmail.com

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