05 May 2009

on reatreat, and walking with God via a labyrinth

i spent the last few days with friends in a cottage in the woods (overlooking a pond) at a monastery. it was good.

i had been hoping to share my love for St Gregory's monastery with Judith, Crystle and Dave for awhile already (i like sharing it with everybody, but with our history of group vacations and our combined love of community/communities, this was a visit that i knew i'd especially look forward to). and we finally got to go together and now with, Stephen, too (i especially delighted in his eagerness to attend as many services as possible (even the 4 a.m. one!)). and we enjoyed the peace of the woods, experienced the pleasure of good food (Judith and Crystle are great cooks!), laughed and delighted in each others' company, and we got to be present in a place where people had spent years praying and meeting God. and it was good.

one afternoon, the three of us women went for a walk. Crystle was eager to find the labyrinth in the woods that i had forgot i'd even mentioned to her. and we each walked along the labyrinth, using it as a tool to meet God. and we all experienced the labyrinth as a metaphor for faith.
- to one, the winding nature of the labyrinth, which created the appearance of being no closer to the goal and often feeling like you were returning to the exact same place (again!) - had a lot to say about the journey of life - that being in the same place, asking the same questions (again) wasn't necessarily a sign of not moving or not growing, but a continued journey further into growth (even if it didn't look like it!)
- to another, the overgrown nature of the path, which made it difficult to follow, was a metaphor for the difficulties of following the good path - and that even with the best of intentions of following, that sometimes life takes detours and has surprises - and you end up not quite where you expect, although this, too, is part of the journey - and with friends around, the path to the goal is easier found again.
- and to another, the labyrinth was a reminder of how others had taken these same paths - the immediate friends here but also all those who had also walked in faith to meet God (and perhaps even in this sort of labyrinth). and in following these other footsteps/journey, there was hope. a sense of hope that there was movement towards a good goal, and hope found with the others who'd share in the journey.

and i left with a sense of being allowed to meet God in the prayers and walks and the labyrinth and the retreat. and in the times of prayer and retreating, i had been reminded that i wasn't trying to use this time/place as an escape from my ordinary life, but to be better able to participate in my "ordinary" life. praying is what i'm to do - and thinking and reaching out to others is also what i get to do. i feel more hopeful and more enthusiastic in participating in this world. and that is also good.

No comments: