Grace and Peace to you.
A prayer labyrinth is not a maze: you can’t get lost; there are no dead ends. It leads faithfully to the center, and back out again. This morning I walked the prayer labyrinth at our church one last time. In walking a labyrinth, you come to places where the circle doubles back, and you turn around and go the other way. Or at least it seems like the “other way”, although actually you’re still going forward, going toward the center, going toward the world. I love those places. I pause and attend to the turnaround, notice the letting go, savor the anticipation. I was going that way, and now I am going this way. This, too, is part of the journey.
The turnaround is a basic part of the path of life: a trip to the store and back… switchbacks up a mountain… you push the lawnmower this way and then that. Geese migrate south, migrate north. Even the earth itself swings from winter to summer, pauses, and tuns around. In the northern hemisphere today, June 21, is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the beginning of summer, the turnaround. In the southern hemisphere, of course, it is the opposite turnaround.
My life has come to a turnaround. At the end of this week I will move away from this town forever, to take another church in a different town, in another state. I will cease being the pastor here, living here, walking these woods. I am going what feels like “another way,” but I am really still going forward. This is typical. We go through changes and reversals, graduations, losses and unexpected turns. We repent. New things seem strange, and we get disoriented. The weave of death becomes visible behind the fabric of life. We thought we were facing the visible world but we are facing heaven. We turn around.
Savor your turnarounds. Be of good courage. Take heart. This, too, is part of the journey. This is still the path, and you are still going forward. This is part of the blessing. Let all your letting go be blessed. Let this new chapter be a learning, a becoming, a birth. Let each solstice of your life be a gift. For even on the very day that the days cease growing longer and the earth turns toward the cold and dark of winter, summer begins.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes