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THE LABYRINTH - a Metaphor for Our Journey

July 09, 2015

I have walked the labyrinth at King's Fold in varying interior and exterior seasons. For a time, I walked it alone, as a spiritual discipline, every morning before work and every evening after. I have walked it in a group of 40-50 people, celebrating God's provision; and I have walked the labyrinth with fellow mourners, when my heart was broken and empty.

I have walked it at night, in the dark, by candlelight; and I have walked it after standing on its edges in awe, not wanting to spoil its beauty, when a fresh snowfall created the gentlest of guiding impressions on top of its bricks, still clearly outlining the way.

Two constants stand out for me from my many different labyrinth walks.  And these two constants offer me hope and rest for my life's journey.  First, I have never gotten lost.  I notice there is a place to begin and a way to follow - a gentle, clearly marked path.  I don't have to worry about where to go or what to do next.  I simply have to put one foot in front of the other and I will be guided along the way, even if I can't see clearly how I will get to where I am meant to be going.  And there is a way in and a way out.  Second, although at times it seems like I am journeying away from the center, I am actually well on the way towards it.  In fact, it is very true that as far as direction goes, I am often walking away from the center - away from the very place I am trying to get to - wondering how I will ever get there by doing that!  But experience has taught me - on the labyrinth and in life - that as long as I keep going, one step at a time, I can trust I will get there eventually.  It isn't only about finding God in the center; it is about recognizing that the whole labyrinth - our whole journey - is held by God, in love. 

As Simon Tugwell says, "We can let ourselves off that desperate question, 'Am I in the right place?'  'Have I done the right thing?'  Of course, we must some-times acknowledge sins and mistakes and we must try to learn from them; but we should not foster the kind of worry that leads to despair.  God's providence means that wherever we have got to, whatever we have done, that is precisely where the road to heaven begins.  However many cues we have missed, however many wrong turnings we have taken, however unnecessarily we may have complicated our journey, the road still beckons, and the Lord still 'waits to be gracious' to us."  (in Prayer: Living with God)  Let's trust that we are each on a journey that is held by God, who is just waiting to be gracious to us!

by Michelle Newsham
King's Fold Community Member