The Path to Depth – By Charles E. Poole
“The path to depth” is a simple name for the never-ending journey to a deeper life with God. “The path to depth” sounds a little like “the path to death.” Which, in a way, it is: a path to death that is also a path to life; dying to an old way of life, as Paul said in his letter to the Romans, to rise and walk in a new way of life, a deeper, wider life with God; what scripture sometimes calls “walking in the Spirit” or “growing in grace”; the life the late Mary Oliver captured so beautifully with her single simple sentence, “Another morning, and I wake, with thirst, for the goodness I do not have.”
For many seekers of every faith, myself among them, that is the story of our lifelong journey: thirsting for the goodness we do not yet have; longing for a deeper life with God, not because we think we must be better so we can persuade God to love us, and not because we think that the better we do in this life the more rewarded we will be in the next life. Rather, we wake each morning with the desire to live more deeply, fully, and faithfully because, as far as we know, this is the only life we are ever going to have in this world. While no one can say for certain, we are not going to get to come back around, do this over, and get it right the next time. So we long to get on, and stay on, the path to depth so that we can live the one and only life we are ever going to have as deeply, fully, and faithfully as we can.
The path to depth is a narrow way; narrow, not as in exclusive, but as in centering; a lifelong reaching for a more thoughtful, mindful, centered life; praying, each day, all through the day, to be kind and gentle, brave and true. However, while the path to depth is a narrow way, it leads to a wide place. On the path to depth, the deeper we go, the wider we grow. The longer we stay on the narrow way, the wider we draw our circle of welcome, hospitality, friendship, and grace, until, eventually, the size of the circumference of the circle of our welcome is the same as the size of the circumference of the circle of welcome around God.
Charles E. Poole
Chuck Poole retired in 2022 from forty-five years of pastoral life, during which he served churches in Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Mississippi. The Path to Depth is his eighth book. Chuck and his wife Marcia have two adult children and ten grandchildren.