Lately at church, I haven’t been feeling ‘it’. I tend to leave feeling emptier than when I arrived. That is the exact opposite of what church used to do for me. There are many reasons for that – excuses… working harder, following my dreams, leaving others behind, lost loved ones, oh and that darn biological clock thing telling me I’m not doing it right. But those are causes to an effect I hadn’t understood until today.

The prayer of the Chalice

The prayer of the Chalice

As I approached the labyrinth, I emptied myself; including those feelings of emptiness I was already feeling because today’s message was so obscure to me.  I began walking. Looking down at the path, my eyes not straying from what was ahead of me. I let the rest of the world fade away. The cars starting up and driving off, the kids laughing and talking, all of the commotion at the bottom of the hill… it was just me and God.

I began with asking God why I haven’t felt him in church in so long. Why I feel so much worse after service than when I came in. Why I feel that the people have moved on without me… then I acknowledged that I too have left them behind. As I spiraled through the twists and turns of the labyrinth I emptied my mind so I could hear His answer and what he showed me came in the form of a hot summer day.

In life we are taught one thing – this is the way ‘it’ is done. These are the rules. This is how you are supposed to think. But with God – it’s not that black and white. For instance, light is good and dark is bad. If you wear the white hat you are a good guy, black hat bad. If you have the light within you, you walk with God and if you have darkness within you – this is clearly the devils work. But today, God showed me it’s not as we think.

As I walked the labyrinth the sun was beating down on me. It was blinding at times and hot.  As I crossed the threshold under the trees and discovered the shade it cooled me off, my eyes didn’t hurt and I was more comfortable. This told me simply that darkness wasn’t as bad as you think and the light was not all it was cracked up to be.

As I sat on the bench, head down, the sun radiating on my skin I closed my eyes to understand the message – in essence, it helped the pastor’s message make a bit of sense. I then looked out past the labyrinth, where I was sitting and I saw the nearby trees. The shade, the pathways between the tree trunks – it called to me. I crossed over the labyrinth borders and walked the trail, looking up into the trees, taking in the leaves and tree limbs as they stretched out over me providing shade and comfort. A canopy.

I discovered that I am more at peace alone at the top of a hill with God and my thoughts than I am surrounded by a roomful of people. I think I have always felt that way – although I didn’t understand it. I thought all of my emotions, all of the biological ticking’s were telling me; without family to continue on, I needed to fill my life with people and friends. I was putting so much effort into building relationships that I forgot about the most important one – my relationship with God.

While I can only imagine my journey is still a long one – I feel like I took a step towards understanding. Life is not about what we THINK it is – it’s the opposite of what we think. Life is about being human, but that is not exactly what God’s plan was for us. We were the ones that made the rules, the expectations and the way ‘it’ should be. I may not be what everyone ‘thinks’ I should be – but with God’s help and guidance… I’ll be what He wants me to be.