Friday, September 07, 2007

The Path of Life

We dedicated the new labyrinth tonight at church. It happened after prayers, dinner and games. Night had come on and when we got to the garden where the labyrinth now resides we found the darkness lit by dozens of little candles set out at various points along the pathway that is its journey. We each were given a candle and all gathered around the edge and listened while our pastor, Robert, talked about how we had been envisioning this labyrinth since our beginning. We said the Renewal Prayer and the Labyrinth Blessing. Then everyone who needed to went home and the children started running all over the place pretending they were walking the labyrinth. They didn't know the rules yet but they had the general idea. A couple of them were chasing each other around the circles. It was kind of cute.

When most of the people had cleared out I started walking. I was joined by Patsy, Edwin, Marion and a woman I recognize but don't know. We all moved along the path at our own pace. I was slow at the turns and rather fast on the straight way. I kept thinking that it mimicked the journey I'd taken through life on the road to becoming a teacher and it was predicting how I would move as I progressed in my career. Sometimes I would go fast and smoothly and sometimes I'd slow down and do turns or pay attention to details. I walked to the center, turned and faced each of the 4 directions, then walked my way back out. On the way out I took off my shoes. That made me feel connected to the earth. I finished and sat on the risers watching the others walk. It looked like a choreographed dance of life. Sometimes you were right next to someone going in the same way and sometimes you passed each other coming from opposite directions. Every time you were near to someone you eventually parted from them.

When everyone had finished walking, Marion and Patsy explained to me why they would walk the outer rim. It has something to do with the lunar cycle which is feminine and there are 28 crescents cut into the edge in each quarter. It is this which is supposed to attract us to this method of prayer. This place will only get more beautiful. We all felt that to be true. It looks like a path which is going to take us forward and become a blending of our gifts to the community we are a part of.

Making a connection with this imagery by being at the end of life's path, Madeleine L'Engle died yesterday at age 88. L'Engle was part of my growing up. I loved her Wrinkle in Time series. She was the first author I ever read who wrote faith into their story telling. I discovered her work when I was in college and later shared a book she wrote with my mother. It was "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art". Mother has always been more reflective in her reading than I am. I prefer the fun of a good story. The story I read said she died of natural causes. I'm going to assume she had lived a full and happy life, it was her time, and she was ready to go.

Tonight after walking the labyrinth, L'Engle's passing reminds me even more of the view of people passing, meeting and then moving on. She too is part of the labyrinthine path of life. I hope her path through heaven is soft and joyous.


jsd said...

I walked the new labrynith this morning, and after I finished I watched the others too. The space already feels peaceful. I'm glad it got built and I'm excited about all the possibilities.

Lee said...

Cool JS! Did you hear about the possibility of a water feature? I think that will enhance too.

While we were talking I wondered if the spirits in the garden would join us on the Labyrinth. Everyone who'd been a long time member told me absolutely. (g)

Happy Sunday!

San said...

Lee, I am especially touched by your description of being near, then parting, from people on the labyrinthine journey, also the observation that we meet many who are traveling in another direction. I haven't walked a labyrinth in a few years--makes me want to do that again soon. There's a book by Lauren Artress (I believe that's her name) about labyrinths. You may have read it already. If not, I believe you would enjoy it.

Thanks for you very kind comment on my painting. Even when I bring a painting into the gallery, it always feels somehow like a "work in progress." I, like you, am a work in progress. Maybe that's why I enjoy your blog--I deeply relate to that sense of becoming--something. Perhaps we should declare ourselves "friends" and link to each other's blogs???

Lee said...

Thanks you San. for appreciating my word imagery. Sometimes those connections that God makes for us are really vivid.

Thank you also for the book recommendation. I'm pretty sure that someone in our Labyrinth Guild will have a copy of some of the books the author you suggested wrote. There may even be some in the church library. In return let me recommend one back. "A Labyrinth Year" Walking the Seasons of the Church. It is by Richard Kautz. I got a copy for my Mom when she was recovering from knee surgery. She always does morning meditations and I hoped this would tie her faith to her healing.

So my new found friend, if you were going to paint a labyrinth what colors would you use? And the link is made! Glad to have you on my list of friends. (G)


San said...

I'm not sure which colors I would use, Lee. But once I visited an artist who used to live in my neighborhood. He made finger labyrinths and he had constructed a walking labyrinth in his backyard. This was several years ago and I can't remember what kind of objects he used to mark the turns in his labyrinth, but they were painted colors to represent the chakras in the human body. And I believe he had a little temple bell you could ring at various points along the way. I thought the chakra sentiment was a nice one, but I didn't pause to look at the chakra points or to ring the temple bell, because I preferred to focus on walking the path.

Sandi McBride said...

Okay, does it sound too lame to say "Deep Lee, very Deep"? Sorry about that...but Deep Lee...very deep...

Lee said...

Not lame at all, Sandi! I think God gave me that vision and it was meant to be deep, partly to show me I could see that way.

Glad you liked it!