2. Following the Story Thread
Attuning the ear of our heart to the story thread (second reading)
A little preparation will be helpful for the second reading of the Amy and Sandra transcript. (Return to the transcript in—1. Can wounds become windows?):
- Find about two meters of wool or string to remind you that this exercise involves following (along with Amy and Sandra) the story thread as it “unwinds” (unfolds) across each page.
- It would be useful to use the highlighter function to mark parts of the transcript. Alternatively you might choose to print out the transcript and use coloured marker pens. The style of companioning you will witness in this encounter is consistent with that you will find in both Reflected Love and Guiding Gideon.
You will have already noticed that Amy keeps right with what unfolds before Sandra, and through her responses, seeks to encourage Sandra to be attentive to exactly what emerges.
You will be aware of the process of reflecting back the pilgrim’s content and feelings. This is considered to be an everyday aspect of companioning. In this second reading you are encouraged to notice this happening. But I would invite you to look deeper at this. It is like Jesus’ second touch on the blind man’s eyes. The eyes of our hearts are enlightened to see more clearly.
A little imagination
Imagine Sandra and Amy walking through a mysterious village. Sandra describes some of the houses which they enter and pass through. As they walk on, Amy reflects back a little of Sandra’s description. This gives Sandra the courage to keep exploring each house, however dark and foreboding it is on the inside. Each time she does this they reach the threshold of a new dwelling. Amy’s reflecting back validates what Sandra has just witnessed, and this gives Sandra the courage to step across the next threshold and enter the door of the next house. Amy suggests Sandra carries a ball of string. Together they tie it to the doorknob of the first house which they enter and unwind it to mark their journey through the entire village. They are careful to loop it around each of the thresholds they cross. Sandra comes to see the village as a whole, rather than a collection of isolated, dark and sinister dwellings.
You have your string which you might now carefully wind into a ball so that you are ready to loop it around each threshold you cross with Sandra and Amy.
You will notice as each threshold is crossed, Sandra moves deeper and deeper into her experience. It is as if there is a thread that gently draws both pilgrim and companion into places, which though dark and often very painful, are places of hidden treasure.
William Blake offers us stanza from his poem, “Jerusalem,” as we embark upon this search for hidden treasure.
I give you the end of a golden string;
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
Built in Jerusalem’s wall.
We start with the ball of string and unwind it as we go. Then in our prayerful reflections we are able to, as Blake suggests, “wind it into a ball,” and to see where it leads us.
So in this, your second reading, follow the story thread.
Reflections on the following the story thread
From your second reading of the transcript, identify two examples where Amy’s encouragement of Sandra to be attentive to exactly what was in front of her, has led Sandra to a significant place; to a significant experience—even to a revelation? This is an invitation for you to be prayerfully attentive. If you consider that Amy is actually demonstrating to you how you, as a guide or companion might do this (guiding a pilgrim to a deeper place), could you make a response back to her indicating what you have learned from her demonstration (In your journal you might use a brief letter, a poem, or a drawing?)