Our church has a labyrinth, a place to find the loving spirit of the Lord.
This was my journey from a while back… I had a similar experience today, one where I was placed in a position where I got to enlighten someone else. I felt it was time to reflect.
Located at the top of a hill, there are steps you must take to get to the labyrinth. It’s like the steps taken to find God. You have to open your heart to Him, invite Him in, and listen when He speaks. I always take time to read the message inscribed on the wood plaque before I begin. It helps take away 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 I make my way around the first turn I realize I need to look down, to stay focused on the lines, otherwise I may get lost. You’ll fall astray. You don’t want to stray from your path. You don’t want to miss everything God has in store for you!
As I make my way around, turning, walking, enjoying, I see new growth from a nearby tree. A low tree limb is blocking the path, an obstacle. Not enough that I have to stray from the path, but enough to have to duck, to avoid the obstacles in the way, avoiding the obstacles between God and I. As I walk by (staying in the lines) it brushes against my shoulder and symbolically feels like Gods hand touching me.
Then I find the next turn takes me to the other side of the labyrinth, maybe the other side of life. It is clearer. Each step I take gets me closer to the bench in the middle where I can rest. Where I can finally look back at the past, and recollect the good moments and smile. But alas, as I continue down the path it turns again and the next thing I know I’m walking away from the bench. Rest has not arrived!
As I continue; wondering when it will end, wondering where the path is leading; I see that low tree branch. That obstacle in life coming back towards me. I thought I was past it. I thought it was behind me. Yet it seems life is repeating itself! My heart quickens for just a moment, worried. Yet when I arrive, I duck below it and move on because I know I can do it. I’ve been there before. I’ve faced that challenge and learned from it!
And like every good miracle, it seems once you are past the obstacle, once you learned you are stronger, better from those challenges, your very next turn leads you to better times.
The path is long. Much longer than you anticipated. It didn’t seem long when I first looked at it. 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. 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 I got to rest.
As I sat on the bench enjoying the beautiful day. I realize what I’ve accomplished and I smile. A butterfly lands on my lap, like God wanted to say, “Good for you. I am proud of you.” I look out and appreciate what I have. What this life has given me. What the world has to offer. The simple things. And after I’ve cherished these moments, before I’m ready to leave, I look out at the labyrinth and realize – I am only half way there.
Everything I did to get here, it’s only the mid-way point. Now that I have clarity, now that I’ve learned God’s lessons, now that I’m ready to return back to life and feel good about myself, I realize I 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 important. But I went through it already. What could have changed in ten minutes? I start to talk myself out of it, to rationalize why I 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 I take a deep breath… I get to my feet, turn on my heels towards the open path and take my first step. It is the unwind. I realize as I walk back through that I had been leaning into the curves. I bent my torso one way to get through it, and on my way out, I 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 this amazing insight 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.