“In colloquial English, labyrinth is generally synonymous with maze, but many contemporary scholars observe a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle with choices of path and direction; while a single-path (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single path to the center. A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not difficult to navigate.Wikipedia
One can think of labyrinths as symbolic of pilgrimage; people can walk the path, ascending toward salvation or enlightenment. Many people could not afford to travel to holy sites and lands, so labyrinths and prayer substituted for such travel. Later, the religious significance of labyrinths faded, and they served primarily for entertainment, though recently their spiritual aspect has seen a resurgence.
Many newly made labyrinths exist today, in churches and parks. Modern mystics use labyrinths to help them achieve a contemplative state. Walking among the turnings, one loses track of direction and of the outside world, and thus quiets the mind.” Wikipedia
There is a labyrinth at Ferncliff, the camp we stayed at for the discernment event. Below were my journalled thoughts following my experience walking it.
This walk through was not alone. This time it was with other YAVs (Young Adult Volunteers) like it will be for the year. We all walk alone but we do it together. Sometimes our paths will cross, but much of it is a journey with you and God. We all follow in someone’s footsteps though – currently and those who are long gone.
The path was created as part of healing for those children who were in school shootings. Stones from those areas were all places in the center of the labyrinth. As I entered it filled me with profound sadness that in the heart where we find God there is immense suffering in the healing process. There is so much suffering in love.
While other YAVs may not have been going through the same journey I was in the symbolism of the labyrinth it was comforting and unnerving to be in it together. I was self-conscious of my tears and anxious about the space between us all. It was an effort to put that aside in prayers and just be thankful for the mutual experience.
I came in hoping that it would give me peace for whatever decision is made tonight. While there is still apprehension, to know God will guide the decision is comforting. I shall go where I am called to go. My life is God’s and I shall not forget.
We walk through the labyrinth alone, together.
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