Out of the labyrinth, back into the world

When I was on vacation, we went to the Desert Museum. When I think of a museum, I usually think cold marble halls. This museum was really more of a zoo and park, with an artificial cave and hiking trails.  There were a number of gardens within the museum, including a labyrinth. While everyone was finishing their ice cream, Maddie and I walked (okay, ran) the labyrinth garden. I’d wanted to do that for a while.

A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is a puzzle with multiple dead ends and wrong turns, and one correct path that goes from an entrance to an exit. A labyrinth is a single winding path that goes in to a center point and then back out the same way. There are no dead ends in a labyrinth. There are no wrong turns. There’s only “going in” and “going out.”

There’s a longstanding Christian tradition of using the labyrinth as an ambulatory prayer. The path in to the center, you contemplate the things of the World you need to discard and leave behind. In the center, you spend some time thinking about the Center of all things. The hinge of history. Christ, the cross and the resurrection. Then, on the journey back out, you think about what you need to carry back into the World; acts of grace, love and kindness.

A vacation is a little like a labyrinth. You retreat from your ordinary life to a place of rest and quiet. You gain strength and restoration in that place, removed from your little World of agendas and goals and chores and alliances. Then you come back with new memories, new experiences, and hopefully, more peaceful perspective than painful sunburn.

The world is a crazy place, reader friends. It’s busy in the same way a toddler is busy. It’s restless and reactive and overstimulated. Just when you think you have a path plotted, a tree falls and you have to figure out if you plow forward, tree and all, or double back and try another route.

I’m grateful I got a little respite from my busy little Queendom. It seems like it kept on running whether I was here to supervise things or not. Which makes me think I need to find ways to work more, smaller resting places into my life.

Otherwise, I might really find myself running in circles.

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