She entered, trembling, not sure what to expect. She had never seen a labyrinth before. The sign made gentle suggestions – pause and pray at the Entrance Rock. Take your time and contemplate life while meandering the twisty paths, being careful not to hop over any stones, thereby short-changing the experiment. Make your way to the Central Rock, and allow God to speak to you there.
She knew instinctively that this was what she had been waiting for all those months. She knew that she would find herself, her lost self, at the Central Rock – and for this reason, she entered, trembling and unsure, but with a hope-stir warming her veins.
Her heart was beating too fast. She willed it to slow. Down. Lose it feverish pace.
She grounded herself at the Entrance Rock. It was warm. Solid. Gently inviting. She entered the labyrinth tentatively, eyes and heart watching. Waiting. For what?
She didn’t know.
Her first thought was “You’re not doing this right.” She saw with a start that her feet were in a ring of stones that was three levels from the outside ring.
But the last year’s training stood her in good stead. She reminded herself that this labyrinth was not a test. It could not be failed or done wrong – it just was.
She walked on.
Her eye, sunk to the floor, was drawn to the miniscule violets which bloomed among the thistles cropping up among the rocks. She thought, “Ah, yes. I see. There is beauty, always beauty, even in the thistle-lands…” and it quieted her pulse and sent shivers of not-yet-born-joy-bumps up her spine.
She walked on. This way and that, her plodding feet drew her ever toward the aim of the labyrinth.
The directions were perplexing. Now closer, now farther, the wandering vexed her soul. Presently her heart grew heavy – so heavy, and burst out, “Why is life so hard? Why can’t I find You, God? Where do You hide when I am most needy and famished?” And tears sprang like old friends and ran down well-worn pathways, lines worn by trouble and sorrow, a river-bed of woundedness. She stopped. She threw back her head and glared at impenetrable sky. “Where are You?” The raw cry echoed silently, creating unseen waves in the neat rows of clouds.
And she felt rather than heard, “I AM here. I AM in the air you breathe – do your lungs perceive Me? I AM in the violets – yes, and the thistles as well – do you not see Me? I AM the sunshine that teases your skin – do you not feel Me?”
And she knew with the suddenness of a thunder-bolt from an innocent blue sky – she wasn’t trying to find herself – not really. She had been lost – yes, that. But at the Central Rock, the central core of her being, was not contained her hidden self – it was Him. Always, only Him. And where HE was, SHE would be. Hidden. Safe. Protected. At peace.
And perfectly herself…
The tears broke and her shoulders shook with the breaking. She reached the Central Rock and, blindly groping through wet-splashed windshield, hand grasped rock. Its solidity reassured – always, forever, her very self had been safe – no violence could break it. No war could overpower it. No flood could sweep it away. No assault or evil or tyranny or oppression or sorrow or terror could ever destroy its essence.
It just was.
And she knew that life, that healing, that finding this elusive God was like walking the labyrinth. Just when you thought you were at the center, a hairpin curve forced you to turn your back – but always, ever, you were making your way to the middle.
It just wasn’t linear. Predictable. Comfortable. It just was.
Her steps were more sure as she turned from the Central Rock. Some of its strength had leached into her, she thought. Some of its quiet dignity. Something indefinable and undiscernible had entered her soul in the labyrinth.
It coudn’t be measured or explained. It couldn’t be qualified or contained or communicated.
It just was…