Where have I been all my life?!

Bethlehem Retreat Centre
Nanaimo, BC, Canada (used by permission)

I paused midway on my very first prayer path experience with the Labyrinth.

Thoughts raced.  Ideas bounced up and down demanding my attention.

That’s just it.  I had to stop projecting into the future and wondering how much time it was taking me to complete this goal.  It dawned on me as I slowly walked barefoot, that this was a journey not to be rushed; this was a sacred experience.  I was to be present in the “now.”

 

In North American “Chronos” time (the time you read on your wrist watch), the Labyrinth prayer walk took me perhaps forty minutes to complete.  And yet it spoke to my heart of a different kind of time, “Kairos” time, of the seasons in my life.

Twists and Turns.

Questions thundered inside my heart.

“Am I there yet?!”

Impatiently, I continued, “Man, this is taking a long time!  My feet are tender.  Was I wise to go barefoot on this prayer journey?”

Yes, barefoot was the best way to go; it forced me to slow down.  Fallen pinecones crunched beneath my feet. The stone path was cold.  And just when I thought I was going to be chilled to the bone, I took a turn to the left and . . .

Oh my word!

Warm Light poured through the opening in the tree branches above my head.  The stones below now radiated a soothing heat from the sun.  I stopped and lifted my face to greet the gentle rays.

Yes, this ancient prayer path was taking me places I recalled long ago; it brought to my rememberance all the love my Abba Father had poured out upon me throughout my life, both before and after I personally came to know Him.

I whispered, “This has been a long journey, Father.  Thank you for reminding me that I have not been alone.”  My heart stirred as I heard Him whisper sweet comfort, “Shhhh.  Be still, Lou.  Follow Me.  I know where I am going; you will be okay.”

And then I remembered a dear friend who is in terrible emotional darkness, blackness so thick that her very life hangs in the balance.  I calmly prayed for her, knowing I could still follow Him while holding up my dear friend’s arms in battle.

A kind looking white haired couple slowly meandered over to the Labyrinth.  Part of me suddenly felt I should hurry and finish so as to allow them the freedom to “start” the prayer walk . . .

and then I realized . . .

my own truth.

I laughed openly and declared aloud,

“This is like life; you can’t rush it!”

Their gentle laugh echoed in the trees.  They smiled and replied, “Good for you,” and slowly turned arm-in-arm leaving me in peace to complete what I had purposed to finish.

They understood and granted me
this sacred space alone.
I continued slowly and purposefully on my path.  I glanced below and gazed upon the incredible activity beneath my feet.  Tiny black ants scurried to and fro; no need of a leader and yet created by my Father to fulfill a task only they know how to do.

And then before I knew it, I suddenly reached my destination.  I had arrived at the center.  Gasping with joy and with my hand on my heart, I called out to Him,

“Oh my God!  I had no idea I would end up here!  Somehow I assumed I was going to end up where I had begun!  I had no idea!”

“Where have I been all my life?!” I joyfully cried out.  You see, I realized I truly had come home.  Home to the Lover of my soul, my Bridegroom, my Source, and my Creator.  He who knows all about me and loves me through and through.  He who intimately knows all my fears, my tears, my grief, and my joy.

Yes, I had come home.  And I was safe.

It was so worth it!  “Thank you, Father for helping me all these years.  Thank you for giving me the courage to never give up in my life journey, though I wanted to so many times.”

With a quiet heart, I slowly walked to the wooden gate entrance and began to slip on my sandals.  I felt something sticky beneath my feet.  I reached down and attempted to flick the dirt away with my hand; it was then I discovered tree gum on my fingers.  I drank in the heady scent of the forest.  Happy childhood memories of leisurely walks in the woods flooded my senses.

Pure joy washed over me.

“Thank you, Father, for walking with me throughout my life journey.  Thank you for guiding me every step of the way and for helping me find my way home to you.”

Reflection: Where are you in your journey?  Do you need to create some space for quiet reflection?  Please remember, self-care is not self-ish.

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“Labyrinths were a feature of many medieval cathedrals – one of the best remaining examples is found in Chartres Cathedral in northern France. Unlike a maze they have only one path – there are no dead ends. People walk the labyrinth slowly, as an aid to contemplative prayer and reflection, as a spiritual exercise, or as a form of pilgrimage.” ~ Source: http://www.labyrinth.org.uk/