I really didn’t know what to write about today. So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share one of my journal entries from my silent retreat this summer about my evening ritual of walking the labyrinth at the Jesuit retreat center where I was praying through the St. Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. It actually fits right in with the theme of this blog because in the Middle Ages, labyrinths were used as a way for people to participate in a pilgrimage without the expense or time required in actually going to another place. Here’s what I wrote (and a drawing of a labyrinth.)
“After praying through my Daily Examen and doing my restorative yoga (which I am loving!) I went for a walk on the trails and enjoyed the most glorious pink sunset which then turned into the most glorious full moon. I had already walked the labyrinth earlier in the evening but I was allured by the the idea of walking it in the light of the full moon.
As I stepped into the labyrinth, I set my intention to step into the mysteries of life without having to have the full picture or understanding before taking a step. Rather than the benefit of daylight, I may only have the equivalent of the light of the moon in which to begin. I can trust that God holds all things and he is trustworthy to keep my foot from slipping or walking into dangerous territories. There is no risk when I trust Him to be my rear guard and strong tower and light and guide. I don’t have to be afraid. Maybe that’s why he tells us not to be afraid so very many times. Because it is unnecessary. He is bigger than all things and he holds me in the palm of his hand and nothing can snatch me out of his hand.
I am also learning that I can trust him to lead me by my heart and desires. One of my verses for yesterday (and I chose to keep it for today to meditate on it longer) is Deut. 30:14, “But, the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.” For me, this means that I will WANT to do his will. I will want it so badly, I can taste it. I will want to with all my heart. My desire will be for his ways. I can trust my deepest desires. If I feel a pause, then I need to pay attention to that and wait for the green light from my deepest self in Christ. This resonates with the verse that has been so meaningful to me for the last few years about “God working in me to will and to do His good pleasure.” I not only want to do what pleases Him, I want to want to! And, I continue to pray and believe that He puts the want to in me by His Spirit working in me.
As I stepped into the center of the labyrinth, I asked the Lord to seal this courage in my heart so that when I return home I might step boldly back out into the world without fear and with trust. As I was walking back around and out of the labyrinth, I noticed that it is designed in a way that feels like it is two steps forward, one step back. It looks like you are almost to the end and then you double back inside and go all the way around again. You walk in one direction and then you turn around and walk in the opposite direction.
I felt the Lord saying to me, “I know you want me to seal this courage and feeling in your heart so that you will never lose it and will always trust me in faith but that’s not the way life works. The journey will always be more like two steps forward, one step back. Life is a mystery and it is not controllable. Trust the flow of it. Don’t resist the flow or try to control it. It doesn’t surprise or disappoint me when you “backslide” or don’t make the forward progress you feel you should be making. I’m not quite as goal-oriented as you are, my child. For me, it really is much more about the journey than the destination. I just enjoy walking the journey with you. And sometimes there are lessons to be learned on what feel like detours or delays or even perceived mistakes. Relax. Rest. Take life moment by moment knowing each moment is held by me and there is life to live and learn by in anything, everything, all the time. I love you, dear one.”
My favorite name for Jesus is “Immanuel – God With Us.” That is why I named my life coaching practice ¡Contigo! which translates as “With you.” My strong belief is that
God is sincerely much more interested in walking life with us than He is that we are walking a straight line to some particular destination. Those words “with you” touch deep places in my heart. I’m happy to be walking this journey with you. Thank you for joining me.