Emmaus Labyrinth #57: Biddle Mission Park, Carlisle, PA

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.

Located at Biddle Mission Park, this is a style of labyrinth I’ve walked many times before: an 11-circuit Chartres-replica made from various colors of bricks. I love this style of labyrinth, and there’s always a sense of comfort when I walk another like it, like coming home. On top of that, the hot sun had been fully concealed by clouds. This was my kind of labyrinth in my kind of weather!

At the previous labyrinth, I had discerned that I was being called now to focus more on my book Darkwater, on promoting it and on the talks I will be giving over the next few months. The question I brought with me was this: “What do I need to give up, to focus more on Darkwater?”

As I walked, I thought a bit about how this would mean giving things up, both practically and emotionally. Surely there are some useless habits I’ve gotten into that I can give up to free up some time. Plus, lately I’ve carved out some time each day to do some Darkwater work anyway – so maybe I can just make that permanent.

But the big thing is giving something up emotionally, and I think that thing is my identity as a good pastor. I need to give that up anyway. What I mean by that is I need to let go of thinking that my identity, my worth and whole self is all about whether or not I’m a good pastor. That’s not a healthy way of thinking or living, and I know better! My identity is a baptized child of God, and part of that baptism means that I am called to live in a particular way, trusting in God and serving others. For the past fifteen years, that calling has included being a parish pastor, but that’s not the core of my identity. That’s just one way I’ve lived out my call. Which means I am free to explore what that call is. It doesn’t mean I’m leaving the ministry – it just means perhaps some of my energy is better spent right now on a different part of my calling, the call to share the message of Darkwater. Maybe I’d even say that in a sense, that’s my primary call right now.

Not at the expense of doing my best in my job at church. But indeed at the expense of thinking that what I’m called to do right now is “improve” and “fix” the church. Maybe, who knows, maybe now is the time for others at church to step up in different ways. And maybe this is the right time, and the right way, for that to happen.

As I was thinking all this, standing in the center of the labyrinth, it began to drizzle. I just stood there enjoying it. I knew I didn’t need to hurry. I knew the rain wasn’t going to get any heavier. I knew this wasn’t a rainstorm, but a blessing.

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