We All Need Spirit Guides Through the World of Words

By Linda Hart Green

I am not often at a loss for words. Here is a classic example. I was trying to explain to my oldest nephew, then aged 3, why it was time for bed. As my mother led him up the stairs, I heard him ask, “Grandma, why does Aunt Linda use so many words?” Her reply was, “I don’t know, dear. I just don’t know.”

My word addiction started early. I was an avid young reader. My mother could take only so much. Some Saturdays, she would take my books away and say, “Go outside and play. Come back when I call you for dinner.” In those days, we roamed the neighborhood on foot and on our bikes. Our mothers did not ping our cell phones. They would open the front door and call our names! If we didn’t hear them, other moms or kids would say, “ Your mother is calling.” We would head home before she would have to do it again in a less friendly tone.

It is a good thing I like words since being a pastor required using them in preaching, teaching, offering comfort and the occasional well-placed challenge. My brother is a lawyer who negotiated contracts here in the U.S. and in Europe for the U.S. Air Force. My introverted mother used to say, “How did I get two children who talk for a living?”

As much as I love words, sometimes I can’t find my own words that adequately describe how I am feeling. That’s when I turn to others who become my spirit guides through the world of words. At different times in my life, different authors have served that important role for me.

They say what is on my mind in a way that had not occurred to me.

For instance, Anne Lamott opens her new book, “Somehow,” with this poem by Rumi that I had not heard before:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning, a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”

(Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks)

If I wasn’t already paying attention to the truths in this poem, a recent “Daily Om” post said this:

“The good news is that the greatest teacher you could ever want is always with you — that is your life. All the situations in our lives, from the insignificant to the major, conspire to teach us exactly what we need to be learning at any given time. Each morning, we might find a moment to say, ‘I acknowledge and honor the teacher that is my life. May I be wise enough to recognize the teachers and lessons that I encounter today, and may I be open to receiving their wisdom.’”

(The Daily Om is published by Everyday Health, Inc.)

I am going to try to learn to listen to the guiding voices in disappointment, less than pleasant surprises and worry for the world.

Speaking of world worry, here is another of my spirit guides through the world of words. She was diagnosed with inoperable stage IV cancer at the age of 35! Nine years later, she is cancer-free and a professor at Duke Divinity School, author, speaker and podcaster. Her name is Kate Bowler.

I hope you find your spirit guides through the world of words!

a blessing for keeping your heart soft when everything is broken, by Kate Bowler.

Blessed are you who see it all now. The terrible, beautiful truth that our world, our lives seem irreparably broken. And you can’t unsee it. The hungry kid. The exhausted mom. The woman who wonders if any of this is worth it. The loneliness and despair.

Blessed are you who glimpse reality and don’t turn away. This kind of seeing comes at a steep cost, and it is a cost you may not have paid intentionally, but here you are. Seeing things clearly. Blessed are you who have worked hard to keep your heart soft. You who live with courage, fixing what is in your reach, praying about what is not, and loving, still.

May you experience deeper capacity and glimpses of hope, as you continue to see the world as it is. Terrible. Beautiful. Fragile.

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Mark Tomes
Active Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
3 days ago

These are great sentiments and perspectives on life. I especially appreciate the insinuation that we ourselves are responsible for dealing with our feelings, our perspectives, our attitudes, and our actions, and not attribute those things to some fictitious, patriarchal, anachronistic, pseudo-omnipresent, all powerful god. The day we take responsibility for ourselves and our actions and our place in the world is the day we grow up.

Active Member
2 days ago

Such a bizarre commentary from a local Christian pastor! ( The same pastor that previously encouraged Christians to NOT wear a cross necklace, in a previous op-ed). Follow your spirit guides, she says…no mention of God….so odd….
Mark summed up this ‘pastors’ words perfectly….yikes!

Noble Member
2 days ago
Reply to  tc59

In a previous commentary, I talked about why I didn’t wear a cross. I did not make any statements about what others should or should not do, because religion is a personal freedom and you are free to choose yours. Protect this freedom.
of your “spirit guide” is God as you understand God, my words did not exclude your way of thinking.

Douglas M
Noble Member
Douglas M(@douglasm)
1 day ago
Reply to  lehartgreen

I’ve always looked at all sermons as an attempt or desire to “influence” people in one way or another……..I never thought pastors were “talking to themselves” on a Sunday morning.

But I agree with your freedom statement, and that’s why I stopped going to church and listening to (or reading) what a pastor had to say a long time ago. (I jumped straight to the comments when I saw the one of interest from tc59 in the sidebar).

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