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Walking the Labyrinth

July 1, 2019

“In a labyrinth, one does not lose oneself. In a labyrinth, one finds oneself. In a labyrinth, one does not encounter the Minotaur[1]. In a labyrinth, one encounters oneself. ~ Hermann Kern, Through the Labyrinth

 

On a recent trip to Athens, Greece, my husband and I spent some time at a local cultural center where we came across a labyrinth included as a “playfield for the heart and mind, a reprieve from the clamor of the world.”[2]  I had always understood a labyrinth to be a maze, a puzzle requiring skill to successfully navigate to the desired destination. However, what I learned is that there is a singular path through the labyrinth, drawing those walking nearer and then farther away from the center until they finally arrive at the heart of the pattern. Labyrinths have been used by a variety of spiritual traditions dating back to 1500 BC as a place for meditation, prayer, and healing.

 

Walking the labyrinth took longer than I had expected. Though I was in no rush, there were several times I presumed I had almost arrived at the center, only to be taken to the outermost path once again. So it has been with my walk of faith. There are times when I feel very close to the Center and in harmony with God, when my spirit is full and my trust is deep. Then as I continue my journey I find myself on the outside looking in, distant and removed, and I begin to question the path.

 

He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.  - Acts 17:24-26

 

Our journey is God-ordained. I do not believe this means every twist and turn in my walk has been decided. However, I do believe that the projection and resting place prepared for me has always been to the Center—toward my Creator—the determined boundaries simply guideposts reminding me whose child I am. This is not a forced walk nor one I need to take at anyone’s pace except my own. There are times I have even doubted the path and turned around, but sometimes starting back at the beginning has not been such a bad thing.

 

His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.  For in him we live and move and exist.  – Acts 17:27-28

 

There is no pride nor shame in my journey—in my faith or in my doubts. I believe God’s saving grace is so much greater than that. And so I will continue on, trusting the ordination of my path is simply in the constant nearness of my God.

 

 

 

 

[1] In Greek mythology, the is a mythical creature portrayed in Classical times with the head and tail of a bull and the body of a man. He dwelt at the center of the Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. (Wikipedia, April 7, 2019)

 

[2] Labyrinth, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

 

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