After lunch, a delicious vegetarian feast, I decided to head over to the Labyrinth - just past the cemetery beside the road - on the lush grounds of The Loyola House in Guelph, Ontario in Canada.
A Labyrinth is an interesting activity or discipline .. where you walk around this convoluted circle, inhaling and exhaling OUT your past and inhaling and exhaling what God is saying to you -- or what you think God is saying to you. It's a forced discipline to hear from HIM, to be silent and listen. It'a an intentional way of slowing down - your breathing, your walk, your heartbeat, your thoughts in your mind and silencing the voices and activities in your head.
So, do I even want to do this?
I read the pamphlet in the foyer before I left the House so I know exactly what to do. My control issues are coming out strong.
And now, I stood at the mouth of the labyrinth. I took a deep breath ... and started walking .. trying to be very deliberate and not rush through this experience, this process like it was a roller coaster ride or something of amusement.
I had no idea what to expect. but I did expect HIM to show up and talk to me.
I have no qualms having this expectation from Him since we are in a relationship albeit He's better at it than I am. (But that's another story regarding my commitment issues!)
So, I begin to walk in the circle, rather briskly but the rain was falling and I was getting wet (which I hate) and then I chose to slow down and listen to my breathing, looking at the leaves on the path scattered here and there.
As I was doing this these questions came to mind:
- What am I going to do for a job? (I had just left an organization that I was affiliated for close to nine years!) That's another story.
- Am I a wicked person? I am a wicked person
- I should really write down or say aloud WHY I am a wicked person
- Nah, I don't really want to - but I probably will
- Okay, I will write them down but for only ME to see and I will NOT post them up on my blog
- Fine. I'll post up one.
SELFISHNESS. Which brought back a flood of memories from my past, broken relationships.
And after four more points for improvement that I pondered on this walk .. I started crying as the rain started falling harder ... and then .. I heard HIM.
I heard Him say ' Stay, and let the rain wash over you and cleanse you - release you from from these "wicked" things that you think you are - it's going to be okay .. be free, be cleansed, you are forgiven.'
And I cried. And cried. And cried. And then I told him that some of these things I needed to remedy myself and He agreed.
"But for this time right now, in this Labyrinth receive cleansing, like the rain falling."
Funny, my initial tendency and response was to jump ship and leave as soon as the rain started falling stronger and harder .. but He said to stay and keep walking through.
"Walk in it and through it. Get to the center. Just get to the center."
So, I kept walking around and around - no rhyme or reason. A labyrinth is designed this way. It's confusing and not logical and that my friend, is its purpose.
It's not about the logical but forcing yourself to conform not to the worlds rhythm and pace, but to His.
And I kept walking and confessing and crying and the rain was falling harder and I finally get to the center which is a graveled circle with a bench and stones leading to it, surrounded by tall grass. And honestly, I didn't want to sit because I didn't want to get my pants and coat wet (vanity) so I stood, outstretched my arms, looked up to the heavens and I seriously heard Him say (again)
"I've GOT you!"
Me: Yes (quietly, almost a whisper)
"You can say it louder!"
Me: Okay (above a whisper)
YOU are cleansed!"
Me: Yes (semi-louder)
"You can say it louder!"
Me: Okay (more than semi-louder)
"You can say it even louder!'
"Do you trust me?"
Me: Yes (medium-semi loud with slight hesitation)
"Do you know that I'm with you?"
"Do you know that sometimes you don't need to know and have all of the answers?"
Me: Like what job I'm going to have in the next few months?
" " [He didn't respond to that last questions}
Me: Yes (because I didn't know what to say to that ..)
"I love you as you are"
Me: yes ... Yes ... YES!
... and then the rain started falling heavier and I was getting really wet and cold and you're supposed to walk back out of the labyrinth the same way you entered and I asked Him if it was okay to just walk straight out and get back to The Loyola House to warm up.
"Yes, it's called GRACE."
Me: I know ... (whisper, with a sigh of relief)