It’s no secret that I like labyrinths. I visit them often and am very happy that the beautiful Carol Shields labyrinth (in the photo above) is just across the river from where I live. It was at the centre of that labyrinth that I stood with my candle in a small circle of women, welcoming 2012.
It’s also no secret that I love metaphors. I’m a meaning-finder, and I love to wrap the complexity of life around the simplicity of a good metaphor.
The labyrinth is a great metaphor for life. Here’s why…
1. The journey to God is a path that leads along many deceptive twists and turns to the centre.
2. Though it often feels like we’re getting lost, if we keep following the path, we’ll eventually end up where we’re supposed to be.
3. When we’re weary and feeling lost, all that is required of us is that we put one foot in front of the other and carry on.
4. Sometimes we get really close to the centre, and think our journey is done, but suddenly we round the corner and there’s a whole new lesson we need to learn before we can rest.
5. Each time we pass a familiar place, we wonder “haven’t I been here before?” Those moments offer us the opportunity to lean even more deeply into the lessons we’re meant to learn and the beauty we’re meant to see at those places.
6. God is both the centre we seek and the path that gets us there. What we need is to trust the centre and to trust the path that leads us to it.
7. The path to God requires that we commit our body to it, not simply our minds. Get up and walk – God is in the movement.
8. To hear Spirit whisper, we have to be willing to be quiet.
9. Like all rites of passage and initiation ceremonies, walking the labyrinth is structured as a pilgrimage with three parts. First comes the journey inward, toward the sacred space where change happens. Next, time is spent at the centre, where the new life begins. Finally there is the journey outward, the return of the transformed person to the world, often with a new identity.
10. We don’t get straight paths in life – only winding roads that never show us the final destination and that keep taking us to places we don’t expect to go.