I'm not sure what exactly prompted it, but as I began to think about the end of the church year I became obsessed with the idea of visiting a labyrinth. Labyrinths fascinate me. They aren't meant to
be tricky like a maze, there is only one way in and then you follow the same path back out. Most labyrinths aren't a simple spiral, meaning that to reach the center you are sometimes obviously moving toward it, and sometimes it feels like you are walking away from the center. I think this is why I was so taken with the idea of a labyrinth, because for the past eight years Jim and I have had very real steps to take (like finishing degrees, working in churches...). But now, as we seek to discern what our ministry will be next and attempt to wait patiently for the next step in life, I often feel like we are standing still, waiting but not moving. And sometimes it feels like we might even be moving farther from our vision of what it means to live out the kingdom. But, the labrynth gives another, and more hopeful vision, we are still moving and ultimately this path we are being led on is leading us toward the center.
I've done a lot of thinking and praying about the coming year in the past week and on Saturday, the last day of the year, we drove to a labyrinth in a small park about a half hour away. The boys loved it and at one point I asked Rowan, does this seem like an odd way to get to the center and he looked at me with a confused expression. "No" he answered. I couldn't help but smile, because it is true, I don't think most children have the same need for directness and are better able to enjoy the process. My boys are my teachers in this regard.
Aside from a quick explanation of what labyrinths are on our way to the park, we didn't do much talking around the experience, but we walked (or ran) that labyrinth together (several times) and it was good. We each brought ourselves and our needs; needs for connection, meaning and direction, and needs for play and discovery. And through some prayerful walking and then some races through the labyrinth we were all satisfied.
If you are interested in finding a labyrinth I found this website, which is a data base for over 4,000 labyrinths throughout the world and helps you locate one near you.