I recently sat down to lunch with a colleague of mine to ponder the problems of the world and figure out what we can put into motion to solve a few of them (because that’s what teachers do during their lengthy summer vacation). I came out of the restaurant with two truths-
1) the tacos at El Ganadero on the northeast side of Grand Rapids are undeniably flavorful and
2) everyone in the world needs someone to keep them accountable.
It is true. It doesn’t matter if you are a lawyer, doctor, teacher, student, writer or professional base jumper, if you don’t have someone motivating/ guiding you to be the best you can be, you will inevitably become mediocre. And mediocrity spawns a life of disillusionment, fear, and spite towards those who have people keeping them accountable.
Here’s the irony, accountability requires people to humble themselves in the criticism of another. This means that a certain degree of trust must be established in an accountable relationship. Trust and humility are two aspects of life that most would prefer to do without. The “I don’t need nobody” and “I can do this myself” attitude springs forth and a series of unfortunate events ensues.
My colleague and I talk often about our teaching crafts and we have scratched the surface of what our writing means to us. He, very unknowingly, keeps me accountable in these two portions of my life.
My wife keeps me accountable as a husband and father. She even gives me time to write and go to adoration to foster not only my spirituality, but that of my family.
So who keeps me accountable to God? That is the question I have meditated on for many years now.
My wife? To the (GREAT, WONDERFUL & AMAZING) extent that the sacrament of marriage allows, of course.
My parish priest? En persona Christi during Mass and Confession, yes.
But even with such spiritual giants as these keeping me somewhat accountable, how can I seek even more spiritual growth?
Answer- get a spiritual director.
After reading countless biographical and autobiographical pieces on the Saints, there is one common strand almost all of them share besides loving God more than all things- they all had spiritual directors.
And so, this Monday, I have my first meeting with a spiritual direction pro. Let’s hope it goes well. I’ll let you know what we come up with.
What about you? What are your dreams? Who keeps you accountable for striving for them? Do you have a spiritual director? If so, how is it going for you?