I have written previously about walking the labyrinth, so please bear with me one more time. I want to share yet another experience I recently had because each walk is unique and bears its own gifts.
About twenty of us began our walk on a hot, humid, cloudy morning. Before entering our prayer was asking Our Lord to walk beside each of us. Although outside, surrounded by nature and tall trees, the instrumental music drifted like incense up into the heavy air.
A few minutes into the walk a gentle rain began to fall upon us. I started to become concerned that if it rained harder we would have to abandon this walk. I prayed in silence, as I followed those ahead of me, for God to allow us to complete this sacred journey. The light rain was oddly soothing to me. It seemed to simultaneously caress us as we were held together within the borders of the Labyrinth. Only God could have created this meaningful experience. Thoughts of sadness also wandered in my mind. I had just learned a friend had lost her daughter to cancer. The heavens were weeping with us. I passed one person who was quietly crying.
Walking this labyrinth we had people of all ages, color, and walks of life. We had people at different stages of their spiritual growth. We were all on the same path together. We were all walking the same direction although at times one would pass appearing to be walking in opposite directions. I think this is true in life as well. Sometimes it “appears” that another person is walking in the opposite direction, but in reality they are actually walking in the same direction as you. It is times like this when it is easy to fall into the trap of wrongfully judging another. I am reminded of a joke I heard many years ago…as people died and were ushered into the gates of heaven they were admonished to very quiet as they passed by the first room…the idea being that room was for the Catholics and they did not believe anyone else was in heaven. Oh, my gosh!
My right hip has been causing me much pain recently and I had some concerns about how painful this walk might become. To my surprise the pain was minimal. I know others on this walk had some similar concerns about completing the walk; at least one person had recently recovered from knee surgery. Walking the labyrinth alone one might be more apt to quit, but walking with a group is different. Walking with a group is like being carried along on the journey by the others. I am reminded of the paralytic being physically carried by his friends. But I believe we can be carried emotionally by our friends too.
Walking the Labyrinth with others forces you to be in the present…people in front of you…people behind you…people passing you sometimes causing you to slow your gait allowing them to continue. Oh, that we could be that considerate in all the situations of daily living. No one bumped into anyone else even though the path was very narrow.
Arriving to the center was something to behold. As each person entered into the center the others made room for them, no words needed to be spoken. I was the last one into the center. We all stood still for a few moments together in silence…side by side… embraced by the stillness…in the space between our steps…together.
The walk out seemed shorter to me even though it was the exact path. I now noticed the quiet was periodically punctuated by the squawking of a black bird. My thoughts drift to those times when I am less kind than I should be to others. I notice the nearby plant with the vibrant purple berry clusters. Beauty is around us everywhere.
We are all on the same journey in life. We are on the journey to return to God; for he has called us by name chosen us to be his people…to live together in peace and harmony. The labyrinth is very symbolic of our daily life.
I invite you to walk a labyrinth whenever you have the opportunity even if it is hot, humid, and drizzling. There within the Labyrinth rests pools of wisdom from which we can freely drink.
May you each be blessed and know that you are exactly where you are meant to be on your spiritual journey…just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You will reach the center…the stillness…the peace.