A number of years ago, I went to a local poetry reading where an acquaintance was reading her work from a book she recently had published. She read a poem, the name of which escapes me, she wrote after walking the labyrinth at a local downtown church. It moved me and caused me to ponder this action quite often.
I looked for this particular labyrinth, but was never successful at locating it and, being disabled, could not do a lot of physical searching in the area. I put off this adventure, but it was never far from the forefront of my mind.
This past autumn, a friend asked me to read a book she took sabbatical to write. The topic of the book is the the ancient path of Camino de Santiago in Spain. My friend has walked this path many times and takes students there each year. The book is a kind of guide and workbook to help each person on their pilgrimage as well as preparation toward the journey. In the book as part of the preparation, the author mentions walking a labyrinth in their area and provided a link to find them. I followed this link.
While I read this book, I could not contemplate a trip to Spain to walk the ancient path. However, the thoughts once again flew into my mind of walking a labyrinth. I found one on the list at The Episcopal Church Of The Ascension. Viewing the photo, I felt drawn to it in a way I had not been with regard to the others listed. I knew this was the one I was destined to walk. I asked my friend, the author of the book, if she would take me and be there for me. She did not hesitate to affirm.
We set the date for December 19, 2016. While I woke up with the dizzies on a cold morning, I knew I had to go on this adventure. We arrived and she helped me out of the car and carried my walker up the steps which led to my chosen path. She then returned and assisted me up the Boy Scout-made staircase. I mentioned to her that this was to be my great spiritual adventure, my Camino de Santiago.
At the head of the labyrinth, I asked her to wait. This was a journey I had to make alone. I felt safe rolling my walker through the narrow passageway as I knew she was near watching out for me in case I faltered. While she waited and watched, I took one deliberate step after another slowly making my way around the maze.
I fought the cold wind in my face and the dizziness in my head. I moved along inching my way and taking breaks as needed and sitting on my walker to rest. While I rested, my eyes flittered here and there looking at the trees and birds. I allowed my thoughts to go where they would and recorded things that I needed to say on the digital voice recorder I brought with me. Each step seemed to take me closer to my goal, the center of the labyrinth where sat a bench. Then again, when I would look in that direction, each step seemed to take me further and further away from that desire.
I reached the center of the labyrinth and sat on the bench as I had prepared to do a meditation. The meditation did not happen. It did not feel like it was meant to happen. Instead I put my earbuds in and turned on some meditative music I keep on my phone. I sat there allowing myself to be connected to the Earth, to nature, to the Universe. I had my epiphanies and made my recording. Nothing else mattered.
As I journeyed, I kept the thought after it occurred to me, everything happens exactly when it should happen. If you believe in God or a higher power, you could say it is all in God’s time. I also learned that the center of the labyrinth was not my goal. As in life, the end should not be the goal. It should not be what we seek to achieve. Instead, it is the journey along the way. It is the path we take, the steps and the people we meet along the way.
I could not have achieved what I needed to achieve for my life at any other time. It had to be then and my friend who accompanied me had to be the one to be there for me. No other option would have brought me to the place where I arrived.
Take your journey, one step at a time. Stop along the way to see what is around you and enjoy the pleasures of the Earth. Don’t focus on the end, set your sights on what is within your reach. The end will then be everything it was meant to be and in the perfect timing.