This is one of a series of posts about a trip I took to walk labyrinths in July 2022. See this post to see why I refer to these labyrinths as my “Emmaus labyrinths.” Note: the numbering refers not to how many labyrinths I walked on this trip, but to the total number I’ve blogged about so far.
This is a very nice, well-maintained 7-circuit classical labyrinth at the cemetery of Epler’s United Church of Christ, with inlaid brick walls and crushed stone path. I found it very appropriate to begin this “Emmaus labyrinth” journey in a cemetery, a place where both death and resurrection are proclaimed. The question I took into this first labyrinth of the day was, “What is the grief that I am carrying?” Just as Cleopas and his friend carried the grief of Jesus’ death with them on their walk, perhaps we all carry some grief with us through life.
I sat on a bench in the center of the labyrinth, looking at a circular symbol inscribed there. The hot sun beat upon my back, and I felt hot and uncomfortable. There was no tree cover here, and I wished for clouds to come and obscure the sunlight. I thought about some of the words I heard on the walk in: You should have known better. You have squandered your potential. You are afraid of being graded or judged, and harshly. You are afraid you’re doing this all wrong. You are afraid that God doesn’t exist.
That is the grief that I carry. All those words that always lurk in the darkness – even when I’m not listening to them, they’re always there. I want to feel free to live, but I am so often scared that I will fall. I’m not so much scared of the falling itself as much as what it means that I fall. I want to get everything right.
I am not on this journey this weekend to dwell on that, but to see something else. However, it’s good to recognize that this is indeed the grief that I carry. I mourn for a life that I’ve never had, for perfection that doesn’t exist. But Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn.” Accepting that can be the beginning of growth, the beginning of this journey. I want to spend the next few days exploring and experiencing what it means that God is walking with me.