Since I find myself in a season of abundant time, I thought I should take time to do things I wouldn’t normally do. One day in October, I had an hour between appointments and planned to get a cup of coffee and enjoy the beautiful fall day. On my way to see my spiritual director, I noticed an outdoor labyrinth and a Starbucks on the Mount Mary campus (why had I never noticed this before??!). This is where I spent my hour. I’ve walked a labyrinth before, but this was the first time I really walked the labyrinth. I realized the labyrinth isn’t a maze. There aren’t any dead-ends or wrong turns. Every step I take has a purpose – and each step brings me closer to the purpose of the journey. And I wondered, can we view life this way?
What if we believed that every step had a purpose?
Life may feel like a maze, but what if it’s really God’s labyrinth? Certainly there are steps and paths we take in life that feel like a wrong turn: sin, illness, death, broken relationships. I don’t believe that God causes these, but they may be steps on the path. They may be steps we need to take. Space and proximity are lost in the labyrinth. You think you are near the center, but then you are taken far away – seemingly back to the beginning. At other times, you feel so far away as if you are not making any progress – but then in a few steps find yourself in the center. It’s easy to forget that time and space do not confine God even if we are very concerned with them. I believe God created time for us – to grow, to learn, to require patience, to allow for transformation. We want everything now, but we may not be ready now. And what we want may not even be what we need – and we’d never know what it is we need, without time. Space brings both freedom and loneliness, intimacy and confinement. Space can provide both clarity and confusion. How do I focus not on seeming missteps, the lack of time or fear of space, but on what God will do with them? How do I accept that they are part of the journey, a step in the labyrinth? I wonder – is it our circumstances that determine our perspective – or is it our view of God? And how does our response reveal in what (or Whom) we trust?I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth. God won’t let your foot slip. Your protector won’t fall asleep on the job. No! Israel’s protector never sleeps or rests! The LORD is your protector; the LORD is your shade right beside you. The sun won’t strike you during the day; neither will the moon at night. The LORD will protect you from all evil; God will protect your very life. The LORD will protect you on your journeys—whether going or coming— from now until forever from now. Psalm 121 (CEB)