Tumbling in the Sand
I want to talk a little more about the labyrinth. On Wednesday, I spent most of the day crawling around on the floor to tape all the tiny little blue “stars” together into circles and then to open the circles up to form a path and then to add details at the turns. As I was taping, I could only focus on the little piece of floor in front of me and it seemed that I was never getting very far. A foot of blue tape at a time bent into an arch around radiating circles doesn’t seem very impressive or very much.
But then, every once in a while, I’d have to get up. My body desperately needed to stretch. I’d run out of tape. The floor would be getting too cold. And so, I’d stand up and step back and be surprised as the labyrinth stretched out before me. Way bigger and more impressive than the couple feet of tape I’d been focused on.
It caused me to reflect. Since a labyrinth is somewhat, sometimes reflective of our spiritual “journeys,” I found myself surprised to realize the creation of a labyrinth could have the same effect as the walking of a labyrinth—insight, the whispering of God, prayer. And I found myself reflecting on how often life is like me sitting on the floor taping a foot of circle at a time—oblivious in the moment of the overall pattern. Oblivious to the beauty of what is being created. But, every once in a while you step back and see that all those little feet of tape have created a labyrinth. All those days of small doings have created a life.
The labyrinth taught me more on Wednesday, too. A small group gathered for service from the churches and we walked the labyrinth together. I did not give very specific directions, because I think that every time you walk a labyrinth it is different and strict directions don’t really help. So, other than giving them a question to contemplate: What is love? I just figured they’d figure out how to walk it best for them. Well, the group ended up talking a lot while they walked—something I had never experienced in a labyrinth before. We talked and laughed. It was absolutely joyful. As the path approached the center and the turns became close and frequent, it became like dancing. On my way out of the labyrinth, it dawned on me that love is joy and community and laughter as well as prayer and humility and commitment and care.
On Thursday, I spent a lot of time visiting with people, but during moments of down time, I reflected back on Wednesday night. Lent has these sort of somber overtones as it is the season that flows from beneath the shadow of the cross. It is supposed to be reflective, a time of repentance, a wilderness wandering, a stripping away. But, if I were honest, I think in my life, at least, I need some dancing in the desert. Some new life and health in the midst of a ridiculously insistent time of illness. Some love in community. Some joy to hold the tears of loss that so many of us have recently felt.
While I hope that Wednesdays will be what they need to be during this season, and I hope that we can find the holy in those moments of grief, and I hope that we can open our lives to transformation, and most importantly, I hope that we do not trammel over our brokenness to anxiously proclaim a hope that feels premature and therefore empty of meaning, I also kind of hope we keep having laughter in the labyrinth.
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