Emmaus Labyrinth #59: St. John’s United Church of Christ, Chambersburg, 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.

This is a 7-circuit classical labyrinth at St. John’s United Church of Christ, with inlaid brick walls and a grass path. This was the seventh labyrinth I walked on this second day of my trip. A lot of my journey today was about my book and my possible call to proclaim its message. I wondered if I could identify exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with that message. So I asked this question: “What is my goal with Darkwater?”

As I walked, I decided I had to be honest – part of the goal is that I want to receive validation. Is everyone like this? I don’t know, but I certainly am — I look for reminders that I am worthy, that I have done something right, that I am loveable and loved. I know that this isn’t the best or healthiest motivation for anything, but if I’m honest, that’s part of it.

I’ve received some validation already. It has meant so much to me how many kind and powerful things friends and family have said (and written in reviews) about the book. It will also mean so much to me if and when I get ratings and reviews from people I don’t know. I check the Amazon page regularly to see if anyone else has rated or reviewed it. I’m not proud of this, but absolutely I want validation for who I am and what I’ve written.

But my motivations aren’t all selfish. Validation is a helpful word here, because I also want to provide validation for people with mental illnesses. I want them to know that they are worthy, that they are loved, that they are loveable, that they are worthwhile. So, validation is what I’m striving for, in all sorts of ways.

But I also have a goal to connect with people of faith who aren’t mentally ill, church leaders and others, to help them to reach out to the mentally ill in their own midst. Yes, and in fact to help encourage and equip them to offer validation to mentally ill people, the validation I believe God is calling us to offer! (And while they’re at it, I’m also giving them the opportunity to offer me some validation by buying the book!)

I don’t know if this is my complete goal with Darkwater, but it’s definitely an important part of it.

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