30 years ago while at Earlham School of Religion for 2 summer courses I wrote a paper for one of them which attempted to trace some of my spiritual development up to that point. As I "settle" into "retirement" I am revisiting that "paper" with major editing and planning to extend the "search" over the last 30 years. I will be taking this process at a measured pace. I may intersperse the continuations with other more responsive posts, but I plan to work more carefully at the "Guided Search" thread.
In examining my life’s journey I find that there were a number of guides along the way. Some of these were individuals that I knew who had a strong influence on the direction of my journey. Others, from ancient to modern times, I knew through written descriptions of their experiences and advice. These guides were ones to whom I could look consistently and confidently, as well as being able to refer others to them. It was important to me that I found some relationship with these guides similar to that described in the following:
Do not walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Do not walk behind me, I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend. (Anon?)
A critical aspect of my journey that has varied over many twists and turns has been that of finding or rather, in a more complete sense, being found by, a spiritual guide that has walked with me my entire life. I learned that the people I most trusted and who served as the truest guides followed the recommendation of early Friends in their advice to those who would be guides: “Take them to Christ and leave them there.” These true friends did not ask that I follow in their footsteps nor that I take the lead but rather they walked with me for a while as I found the trail markings they helped me to learn and bore witness to the one guide to whom I could listen and walk with regardless of how rough the terrain or obscure the path seemed to be.
My earliest guides were my father, Logan Smith, and my mother, Opal Perry Smith.