Walking from the busy street through the gate to the garden labyrinth on Saturday I was struck with a sense of the sacred. The grey bench outlining the center of the hedge-lined path danced before my eyes. I breathed easily as my mind suddenly took a back seat. I was in the mist of the Divine surrounded by fellow travelers.
We formed a line beside the labyrinth. Silently reciting a prayer for each person who entered before me, my mind was ever focused on the bench, waiting in the center.
I stepped to the entrance, made the sign of the cross, and wanted nothing more than to jump over the hedges. My first steps along the path were quick and filled with anticipation, but the labyrinth is a path to be walked, not an obstacle to cross. Soon my feet found the rhythm of the journey, pausing to dwell in each turn.
When I arrived in the center I marveled at the space. Far from a small, cramped circle I had entered an oasis. I sat on the bench and almost for the first time, my eyes fell on the tree. The strong old oak had beautiful spreading boughs, as though it was embracing the entire labyrinth.
I closed my eyes and centered in prayer. I did not seek to experience a sudden moment of clarity. I had not come to the labyrinth that day with a particular problem to work out. I sought, and experienced with profound clarity, God’s holy presence.
I carried that sense of presence with me as I left the labyrinth and that ‘holy’ place. I also carried with me a challenge. The next day I saw this challenge perfectly laid out in a line from the comic, Calvin & Hobbes. “We’re so busy watching out for what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” I am challenged to enjoy my time on this path towards ministry.