Procter Center, our diocese’s camp and conference center, was built in the middle of a cornfield. Except for the occasional blare of a truck horn, it’s a quiet, nature-filled place for meeting, fishing, and reflecting. My daughter Nia was a camp counselor there for two years, and last year, they built a labyrinth in front of the chapel.
Everyone who worked on that project should be proud, because it’s a beautiful labyrinth. Although there were many hands involved, my heart always goes to the hands most special to me – Nia’s.
Last weekend, I was at Procter for a meeting. We only had a 15-minute break, and I needed a quick walk. Off I went to the labyrinth. I had left my phone in the meeting space, so I had no music to keep me moving as I usually do.
Leaving my phone behind was the best decision I made all day that day. Walking the labyrinth, God revealed some parallels to parenting that I would have missed with my headphones plugged in. Here are a few, in no particular order:
1. God has created a way for us. We choose to follow it or stray from it. When we let God lead the way, we will get to our destination, but maybe not when we think we should. Sometimes there’s one more turn. Maybe there’s four more turns. We have to trust that when God is leading, we will reach our destination. Parenting can often make you feel as though you have no control. Trust that God has a way for you, and don’t be afraid for it to take longer than you planned.
2. Labyrinths take up a small space, but you can get pretty far in that space. When I walk at my local high school track, two laps is a half-mile. Walking the labyrinth is about the same, in about 10 square feet. There’s practicality and efficiency in a labyrinth, two traits often found in parents. So when you feel as though you’re all over the place trying to be practical and efficient, try to imagine yourself safe and protected within the circle of the labyrinth. God cares for our journeys.
3. I feel connected to the labyrinth because I know that my child had her beautiful hands on some of those bricks. She raked the ground and spread gravel. I feel connected to her when I’m in that space. That’s the beauty of communal faith. We can feel connected to each other even when the other is not there, because of our shared prayers and liturgy. The labyrinth acts as a conduit to our connection.
If you walk regularly, try leaving your headphones behind and your music off. You’ll hear God’s voice, full of encouragement, reassurance, and much, much more. I was blessed with this beautiful experience during a few moments of essential solitude. I pray God blesses you with a peace of your own today.
Dear God, thank you for the blessing of your creation, and for letting me share it with my children. Keep me on your path as I walk through this sacred journey called parenting. Amen.
Have you ever walked a labyrinth? What did it teach you?