Since posting before about my initial experience walking the labyrinth, I have walked it dozens of times for different reasons and had different stirrings as a result of them. Sometimes, I just walk it when I have no where else to walk, when I feel like it is a familiar path that I can trust, and so I walk it in the presence of God and recognize it as a trustworthy path. Other times I’ve walked it in anger or frustration with housemates, myself, what I’m learning, what I’m being told, the type of spirituality that I sometimes rub up against, and it is a good place to just let those emotions go. The labyrinth seems so much shorter then, as I’m usually pacing it quickly, throwing up hands in frustration. Perhaps anger, hurt, resentment, and frustration are the quickest route to God. How quickly we turn either in blame or in helplessness when we run into walls or pain. In those moments we can choose to keep running the course or we can duck out early and completely miss any true experience of God.
Sometimes I’ve walked it in obedience to the Holy Spirit. On one significant occasion, I found myself drawn out of bed late at night and called to the labyrinth. On an incredible, cool summer night, I walked the labyrinth unlike any other time before or since, not choosing my steps myself but feeling the breath of God in the wind pushing me along, filling my lungs, filling me with joy and laughter at my own ridiculousness, totally out of control. Oh, the wind! I’ve never felt the wind so intimately, so connected to my very being, and it made so much sense to understand it as God’s breath. That image had been sticking in my head since I arrived here, and on one dramatic occasion (and a few other less dramatic ones), I knew it more fully than ever before.
For me, the labyrinth has become a sacred space. When I’m in it, I know that there is something different. Not every time is like that one night, but I know what it means to regard a space as sacred even when it doesn’t overwhelm me emotionally.
And while I still hold to the conclusions I made in the last post about the labyrinth (that the cross is the true center that disrupts our paths and directions and allows for no other center), I do find the labyrinth a good metaphor for life. Not so much that all of our lives will lead to the center (because, as I said before, that makes a)the cross not the center b) arriving at the center a merely passive action that asks nothing of us along the journey), but that the path is always moving and turning and we must turn to see the cross. Even when it doesn’t feel close (as in my journeys in the labyrinth that were primarily discipline), recognizing the presence of the cross and choosing to see it by way of turning is spiritually nourshing.
If I could pick out one significant thing from this time at the CAC it would probably be choosing to see the cross wherever I am in life, with whomever. The cross is always there, always offering its medicine for the healing of the world and our individual lives as well. Life will continue to have its disappointments and hurts, its let downs from friends, family, and community, but I know that these too are just part of the dying process. And dying hurts. Yet we know that death is never the final answer. There is true life at the true center, the cross.