Divine Connection: For bone-weary Burb Moms who need to recollect themselves and reconnect to the Divine.
A labyrinth is a marked path that signifies a spiritual pilgrimage. To walk and pray a labyrinth is an ancient Christian practice, though it is used in other faith traditions. It dates back to the days when believers would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. If they could not make that journey, they would pray and walk a labyrinth. I can’t help but think of these words whenever I walk a labyrinth: “All the roads we have to walk are winding. And all the lights that lead us there are blinding.” A rock group named Oasis wrote that several years ago but I think we can all relate to that sentiment these days.
There is so much change and uncertainty in our lives. So many are unemployed or are about to be. Families strain on restricted budgets of money and time. It is difficult to know the way we should take. Motherhood presents its own set of difficulties and confusion. The way varies with each child’s personality, and there are so many options to choose from every day. I want to get it right. But I’m not too far down the motherhood path before I notice that there is the intended path and there is the actual path–what really happened–as a result of heading this way.
As much as I want to control the aspects of my life and my child’s life, some things–most things–just sort of happen along the way. That’s part of the messy, chaotic beauty of life. (I comfort myself with that thought as a pack of wild neighborhood boys runs through my living room and upsets a basket of neatly folded laundry…for the second time!) But sometimes the way seems hidden from me and the path appears dark and ominous. Not just a little scary…I mean, we’re walking to our certain doom kind of ominous. What do you comfort yourself with then?
The answer is: nothing. You don’t look to yourself. When it’s that frightening we all look outside of ourselves for “whence cometh my help.” We realize we need a rescue. If you are in a situation like this then praying a labyrinth can be great comfort. It reminds us that the roads are winding; there are also good turns that come when we least expect them. What we see as inevitable is often interrupted by the hairpin corners of life, and when we walk a little further down the path we have an entirely different perspective. A labyrinth reminds us that God is at the center of it all. He knows the way that I take.
Christians take comfort in knowing God came in human flesh to walk this same path. There is nothing we can face that isn’t familiar to him. In preparation for Easter we reflect on this man of sorrows.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3
I don’t mean to imply you should only walk a labyrinth if your circumstances are dark. The depth and breadth of those who need comfort right now compelled me to address that application of this spiritual practice, but there are many ways to pray a labyrinth.
- Some people who want to decide or discern a matter will pray before entering a labyrinth and determine to hold that matter in their heart as they walk. It is a great mystery that somehow God meets them along the way or captures their attention in the turns to reveal truth.
- Some pay attention to the thoughts and feeling that come to mind as they reflect on their life journey while walking a labyrinth. That could be reflecting on their life journey this week, this month, this year, etc.
- Some just pray to open themselves to God and listen as they walk the labyrinth.
There are several labyrinths in the Dallas metroplex you could try but I recommend the one at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Richardson. It is located at 600 S. Jupiter Rd. It is in the courtyard of their church so it is outdoors but the church must be open so you can pass through it to the courtyard. It is designed like the famous labyrinth at Chartes Cathedral in France. Amazing music plays through speakers surrounding the labyrinth. It is a beautiful experience you can share with your kids if you don’t think they’ll disturb other pray-ers. Kids are naturally kinesthetic learners. My son loved walking (and running) the labyrinth and I was happy to show him that being mindful of God isn’t confined to church walls or church pews.
I recommend you call the church office Phone: 972-231-2951 during their office hours to see how late or early you can have access. Some nights it is available until 9pm or 10pm. Come and try a new experience with God; take “a closer walk” with Him in a labyrinth. You just might make a Divine Connection.