Saturday, May 3, 2014

Tales from the Labyrinth

I attended noon mass on Monday and Friday during lent and scheduled myself to walk the labyrinth on the same days after lent. This time gives me a break from work and enables me to spend some one to one time with Jesus.

Yesterday, I debated with my self whether I should go to the labyrinth and decided to stick to my commitment.
I parked the car when I arrived at the church. It was a beautiful day. A little cloudy with a nice breeze. I wore a shawl over my shoulders which kept me from getting chilled. I got out of my car and started to walk toward the labyrinth. I saw three men standing in the middle of the labyrinth talking to one another and I wondered what they were doing. I noticed one man held a watering can and figured they were tending to the beautiful flowers that surround the labyrinth. I approached the entrance and one of the men greeted me. One of the two men in the center turned to face me and said, "we left some roses here for you" and at his feet was a flower pot with white and red roses in it. I said, "my mom died three years ago and roses are my symbol of her". The man who greeted me began a conversation with me. I introduced myself, we shook hands and he said his name is Jim. We shared wonderful stories about ourselves with a few tears and at the end of the conversation we said goodbye with a hug.

We became that close in the short time we spent together that started with a handshake and ended in a hug.

This is the power of the labyrinth and the warmth of the church community.

I walked the labyrinth thinking of and talking with my mom and Jesus. A few weeks earlier I met my dad at the center of the labyrinth through a disk that looked like a penny. And I wondered since then why I haven't met my mom there. I said to her as I walk, "so I guess you didn't want to be outdone by dad"? Well played mom, well played!

I sat down by the roses when I reached the center and cried. The tears were not of mourning or sadness. They were of JOY  in the reality of the connection. They were tears of AWE at the power of our GOD. They were tears of EXCITEMENT that my mom and dad are experiencing what I am experiencing and they are supporting it by showing up! Their spirit is with me! They are teaching me and guiding me in ways they could never have done if they were still in their bodies. Oh! Let the tears FLOW! They are tears of LOVE for God, mom, dad and the Christ filled and Christ sharing people of this church community.

As I began my walk out of the labyrinth, I did not want to leave, I took my time. I sat on the bench near the entrance of the labyrinth to talk some more with mom and Jesus. There were more of the tears. The sun shone strong and felt like it was only on me at times. The warm hug of a mom and a saviour. The breeze blew ever so lightly. The lucious kiss of a mom and a saviour.

I did not want to leave. And I did. Grateful.

This morning I attended centering prayer. Centering prayer starts with a song as a means to move our mind and heart into the presence of God. Then there is a period of silence where we quiet ourselves to be with God. When thoughts come to mind we use a word, like Jesus, to bring us back to our center, our "God Zone", as a friend calls it. Jesus is my centering word but today it was replaced with "I am the living water". I had a hard time centering this morning. My mind was 'chatty cathy'. And I repeated the words, I am the living water. Then I heard a cardinal outside the window and another one in the distance. I smiled. Cardinals symbolize Jesus, another friend taught me this. She has cardinals all over her home. It is a delight! The next part of centering pray is to share your centering experience. The leader mentioned that the scripture which was going to be read next mentions water.

I said, 'Thank you Jesus. You are so amazing'.

John 21:1-14
After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons,* and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.

This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

We share again on what came to us when we heard the scripture being read.  

I related the labyrinth story above with Jesus sitting by the campfire. He is always sitting with us.

We end centering prayer with prayers of intentions and the our father.

The centering prayer leader used a book called Abide by Marcina Wiederkehr OSB.
Marcina interprets scripture from a personal feminine perspective. It is very powerful. There are prayers in the book too. I highly recommend it. It can be used for your own centering prayer group or personal centering practice.

On my way home from centering prayer a song came on the radio. The healing hand of God.

I listened to the song and then turned the radio off. I wanted to be with the song in silence to allow it to sink deep within my being while I continued my drive home. The  radio view in this picture stayed on the car's display screen until I got home and could take a picture of it.

I thought that I was healed from the loss of my parents. I thought I was ready to take on the next chapter of my life.

Jesus  tells me in the experiences that I share in this blog post, "Hold on, I gotcha. Your wings have formed and now I am strengthening them. Be patient and be still my child. Sit with me, hold on to me and listen for my will".

How does Jesus speak with you through your experiences?
What does he want you to know, to hear, to see in your life?
Ask him. He delights in you.

JEREMY CAMP
Healing Hand Of God Lyrics
Songwriters: Camp, Jeremy;

I have seen the many faces of fear and of pain
I have watched the tears fall plenty from heartache and strain
So if life's journey has you weary and afraid
There's rest in the shadow of His wings

I have walked through the valleys, the mountains, and plains
I have held the hand of freedom that washes all my stains
If you feel weight of many trials and burdens from this world
There's freedom in the shelter of the Lord

And I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
Taste and see the fullness of His peace
And hold on to what's being held out
The healing hand of God

And I have touched the scars upon His hands to see if they were real
He has walked the road before me, he knows just how I feel
When you feel that there's not anyone, who understands your pain
Just remember all of Jesus's suffering

'Cause I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
Taste and see the fullness of His peace
And hold on to what's being held out

Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you
He's near to the broken and confused
By His stripes our spirit is renewed
So enter in the joy prepared for you

I have seen the healing hand of God
Reaching out and mending broken hearts
Taste and see the fullness of His peace
And hold on to what's being held out

The healing hand of God
The healing hand of God
The healing hand of God

And hold on to what's being held out
(Hold on)
And hold on to what's being held out
(Hold on)

The healing hand of God, oh, oh