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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

Jill of all trades, mistress of none.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Labyrinth

I took off my shoes, slipped on hospital shoe covers, and slid into a chair in the quiet room. As I looked around, I was aware of the people in the room. There were so many. It had not been this crowded before when I was here. I wondered about all the people… did they come often? What brought them here today? And then, more practically, would they distract me?

As I watched them move around the labyrinth, it occurred me to how very ghostly and eerie the scene appeared. Natural light and total silence, with exception of gentle spiritual music. People moving silently past one another, most of them with eyes on the floor. A slow motion, silent dance. Imagine the baptism scene in “O Brother Where Art Thou” and you might be close to the experience.

Before I walked onto the path, I sat shoeless, asking God for wisdom. I asked God to speak to me and to empower me to hear on my pilgrimage. I had not felt especially close to God for a while. My life had felt overwhelming and and seemed to blot out much of my sense of God’s presence.

The moment I stepped onto the path, I began to cry. I didn’t stop until I reached the center where I saw down.

At the first curve in the path, I was aware of God’s voice loud and clear: “I know the plans I have for you…” A few more steps, “The path is laid out before you…Follow…” and then, “Your only job is to just keep walking.” An overwhelming since of relief flooded over me. This is the God I have trusted with my life. How can I not see the care God has provided through every trial and struggle? Suddenly, all the angst I experience over decisions, and challenges, and forks in my life’s road, seemed pathetically silly. My struggle with work, parenting, marriage, joy, all seemed insane.

I found myself stepping to the rhythm of the music. Almost like the deliberate step of a ballerina with toes pointing, arch of my foot turned in and leading. I liked the feel of walking the music… of sensing it with my body.

Along the way, I remembered that the walk to the center is about letting go. I already knew what I needed to release. What has plagued me lately… my anger…my fear. As I thought about my fears, I heard God again: “Nothing can replace me. You have tried to put others in my place. NO ONE belongs there.” At the moment I heard this, I was aware of someone passing to the right of me. I glanced quickly to see G. A timely reminder…nothing can make me content, whole, happy but God.

A few more steps and Meister Ekhart whispers in my ear: God is not found in the process of addition, but in subtraction. What do I need to subtract? What expectations do I have of myself and others and God that are unrealistic? What can I release? What do I worship other than the Holy One?

Then God said, “Let him go. You worry and grasp so tightly because you fear so much. Let him go. Let the girls go. Turn them over to me. Turn it all over. G and the girls. TRUST ME.” I realized then, that the fear and distrust that plague me about my family are not that I don’t trust them, but that I don’t trust God with them. “Let them go.”

A few more steps and I marveled at how wonderful a thing it is when what you have stored in your heart, in your memory, springs forth to speak life to you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him as Lord and he will direct your paths”. How many times have I heard these words? Today, I found great comfort in thinking that there is only one path and that it is completely preordained. That God is in complete control.

¾ of the way done, I turned a corner and realized I was facing the entrance/exit. A flash of emotion hit me. Not yet! Then a gentle turn to the right appeared, and took me further down the path away from the conclusion of my walk.

Aware of an impending encounter with a sunny spot on the path, brought a sense of excitement. Everything seemed meaningful, even the few spots on the canvas path that bore witness to some type of carelessness or accident.

I wish I could finish this; could neatly wrap up this account. For some reason, however, the rest of the experience is gone. Or at least gone from my conscious self.

8 Comments:

Blogger CanEragon said...

I'm glad I stopped by tonight. I needed to read this. My blog will explain why. Thank you

Jeremy

A reader of the RLP.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Scog Blog said...

So beautiful and evocative and endlessly challenging. Thank you.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Africakid said...

These are words I needed to hear. The last two years, I've struggled with trusting God, even though I know (in my head) that God holds me and everything else together. I appreciate your tale of the labyrinth!

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic! What a wonderful experience.

Zanna in Montana

3:48 PM  
Blogger peacepastor said...

Thanks for a helpful reminder about the power of labyrinths. I have had times when I reached the center and felt captivated by twin desires to remain and to begin my life anew. The experience can never be fully described, and I hope it continues to live in you.

3:08 PM  
Blogger sozzled said...

I have always been curious about walking a labyrinth, even gone so far as to print out maps of local ones I could go to. but something (fear of the unknown?? hey, I'm lutheran we don't DO that!) has held me back. But my children are back in school during the day, so I really have no good excuse. Thank you for the push I needed.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Jeanene said...

Sozzled-

Go walk. This is not an act of devotion and spirituality that Baptists have much history with either.

I think Richard Foster and his buddy that put together Renovare are correct. The Church is rather fractured, with Christians are familiar with and divided by many different expressions of faith. I find often that those that are outside my comfort zone provide the richest experiences of growth.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Wandering Willow said...

This makes me want to find a labyrinth right away, and walk it. I've thought of it for years, and heard wonderful things about labyrinths. Maybe it's my time.

10:51 AM  

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