You may frequently pray, as I do, the Serenity Prayer in which you ask for serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. And of course the wisdom to know the difference makes all the difference!
I see spiritual direction as a wisdom practice.
I go to spiritual direction to get a “perception check” on knowing the difference. For example, I have one support person in my life–a mental health practitioner–who has advised me to stop watching and listening to the news because “politics will always be full of rancor and conflict, and natural disasters will always be horrible.” She wants me to accept how little control I have in matters of national and international importance. Then I have other people in my life, friends and encouragers I call my “dream team,” who tell me we can make a difference if only we do X, Y or Z. Perhaps both are right, but even so, I need the wisdom to know the difference between shutting the news off and just going about my life as if all is well, and staying informed and making my voice heard.
I haven’t figured it all out. I haven’t found my wisdom. And my spiritual director doesn’t tell me what wisdom is, but he’s quite good at noticing when I have located my own wisdom in this question. And I hope I do that for those who come to me for spiritual direction.
What is wisdom? In one sense, it is the female biblical figure, Sophia, described as God’s helper who was present at the origin of the world. Every now and then I like to dig into the Apocryphal book, Wisdom of Solomon, to reflect on the nature of Wisdom.
“Wisdom reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other,
As spiritual directors, we seek to hold this metaphorical Wisdom mirror up to our directees so that they can see the working of God in their lives. So that they can develop “the wisdom to know the difference” in their own lives.
As for my question, wisdom tells me to stay informed without becoming overloaded, to cut through the boarishness of political discourse and keep my eyes instead on the issues that affect people’s daily lives. I’ll use my voice when I can and hope for the best. Most of all, I will work on trusting that Wisdom orders all things well!