Our church has a labyrinth. It was built by our members to provide a place to find the loving spirit of the lord. And this blog message is about my journey on the labyrinth the other day. I know it’s long but I felt I had to share it with you.
Our labyrinth is located at the top of a hill so there are steps you have to take to get up to it. It’s like the steps you need to take in order to find God. You have to open your heart to him, invite him in, listen when he speaks to you…
I always stop at the entrance to read the message inscribed on the wood plaque before I begin. It helps to take from my head the items I need to release in order to fully hear what God has to say. And then the miracle begins. The very moment I step into the labyrinth the wind blows. Ever so slightly; just enough to feel like God is saying welcome. We are, of course, at the top of the hill, you will feel wind… but I didn’t remember feeling any wind on my way up the steps or while reading…
As you begin to walk the labyrinth you see new growth from a nearby tree stretching over the lines of the rock. As you walk by it (staying in the lines) it brushes against your shoulder and it feels like Gods hand (to me) touching me.
As you make your way around the first turn you realize you need to look down, to stay focused on the lines because if you don’t, you will get lost. You will fall astray. You don’t want to stray from your path. You don’t want to miss everything God has in store for you.
So you continue making your way around, turning, walking, enjoying, but then you come up to an obstacle. A low tree limb is blocking the path. Not enough that you have to stray from the path, but enough that you have to duck, to avoid the obstacles in your way, avoiding the obstacles between you and God. (Dear Church – don’t cut that limb down. It’s an important metaphor.)
Then you find your next turn takes you to the other side of the labyrinth, maybe the other side of life. It is clearer. It is getting you closer to the center. Each step you takes gets you closer to the bench in the middle where you can rest. Where you can finally look back at the past, before you began, and recollect the good moments and smile. But alas, as you continue down the path it turns again and the next thing you know you are walking away from the bench. Your rest has not arrived.
As you continue; wondering when it will end, wondering where the path is leading you; you see that low tree branch. That obstacle in life coming back towards you. You thought you were passed it. You thought it was behind you. Yet it seems life is repeating itself. Your heart quickens for just a moment, worried. Yet when you arrive, you duck below it and move on because you know you can do it. You’ve been there before. You’ve faced that challenge and learned from it.
The path is long. Much longer that you anticipated. It didn’t seem long when you got started. But like life, it is full of twists and turns. You have to persist. To work towards getting there. You have to find the will within yourself to not turn back or give up or take short cuts. Yes, it would be easy to step over the lines and cheat, but look at what you would have missed, what you would have not learned. The precious life lessons God wants us to learn – no matter how difficult or hard they seem to be. They make us better people, better Christians.
Then you get to rest.
As you sit on the bench you look at the beautiful day. You look at what you accomplished and smile. A butterfly flies by (one even landed on my lap) touching me like God would to say, Good for you. I am proud of you.
You look out and appreciate what you have. What this life has given you. What the world has to offer. The simple things. And after you have cherished these moments. Before you are ready to leave, you look out at the labyrinth around you and realize – you are only half way there.
Everything you did to get you here, is only the mid-way point. Now that you have clarity, now that you have learned your lessons, now that you are ready to return back to your life and feel good about yourself, you realize you have to go back through. There is no straight line out of here. There is no easy exit.
Yes, you could step over the lines, ignore them, cheat – but you already learned you shouldn’t. You already learned you would be missing out on something. But you went through it already. What could have changed in ten minutes? You start to talk yourself out of it, you start to rationalize why you don’t need to do it, but the wind sweeps by again and it’s like God saying, Come on, do it for me.
So you take a deep breath. You lift yourself to your feet. You turn on your heels towards the open path and you take your first step. It is the unwind. You realize as you walk back through that you had been leaning into the curves. You had bent your torso one way to get through it, and on your way out, you needed to bend the other way – to straighten back up. You couldn’t do it half way, because God wants ALL of you, a whole you – not just half.
It was an eye opening moment – that I wanted to share with you. To encourage you to find a labyrinth and experience for yourself. Maybe this was just my moment of clarity. Maybe you will experience something different, and that is fine – because God made us ALL different. And He gave us the ability to communicate, through words, song, actions, so we can share what He has to offer with others who may not know yet.