I was walking into McDonald's not too long ago, and my daughter came from behind and grabbed my hand and held it. She grinned at me and explained that she knew that “holding hands” was on my list (see No Particular Order in the archives). And my beautiful, eighteen year old daughter walked beside me swinging my hand as if we were six year olds on the playground.
Oh! The sheer, sweet joy of her...
This hand holding with my daughter reminded me that the deep longings of our souls come true, but often their form does not fit our preconceived notions, ideals, or expectations.
And we miss them.
With an utter sense of awe, I realize many of my longings are being satisfied, but I am not immediately aware; often I am not recognizing them. My daughter's thoughtful actions triggered a greater awareness in me. She expanded my box of perceptions and awareness of how these fulfilments can manifest.
I mentioned in No Particular Order that I wanted to walk a prayer labyrinth—this is my particular longing for the mystical and artistic form of prayer. I searched the Internet for places within driving distance for a labyrinth. All the while not realizing what was happening—right here, right now.
I have returned to walking on a regular basis. My knee has healed and is no longer tender. This morning I walked in the early dawn. The sky was still dark and clear, only a darker gray smattering of cirrus clouds could be seen. Brilliant stars perforated the inverted, blue bowl. I found the Little Dipper. I could hear the host of insects in their myriad of song. There was a slight breeze, and there was little humidity.
I breathed deep.
With the breath came a startling realization:
My circuitous walking path has become my prayer labyrinth.
The reality of this labyrinth did not fit my preconceived idea, however, it did fit and fulfill my longing.
I have been trying to find an inner stillness—a quiet place where my self dialogue is not continuous and chaotic. My walks have aided in this attempt. As I take each step I acknowledge I have to release even the trying—the striving often creates turmoil. An anxiousness. My mind sounds like the Little Engine that could, “I have to be still, I have to be still, I have to be still.”
But during my journeys in the early hours of the morning, there is a moment when my mind finally winds down to a small inner cell. The cell is slight and narrow, and the time I actually remain there is brief, but in that glorious, lucid moment I am still.
I am at the center of my labyrinth.
In this stillness I know that He is God.
And the moment becomes prayer.
My Labyrinth Prayer
Walk with me around the spiraling corridor of my asphalt path.
Let the sound of my shoes become the cadence of my inner worship.
Let the street lamps be reminders—pillars of remembrance to your faithfulness.
As I kick the rocks and pebbles in my path,
and when I lose my footing on the crumbling edge of the road—
remind me that you will catch me when I stumble.
You will steady me.
You will set me aright.
As the light calls to the morning,
Call to me, O God.
As the darkness gives way to light,
Help me to give way and be enlightened.
As the darkness recedes,
let me be filled with your light gradually—
slowly so that my fragile self will not be completely undone.
I cannot encompass you.
As I tread along my course inward,
help me shed and discard everything
that will not lead or aid me in my journey toward you.
As my awareness of your Presence increases,
take me to a place until it is just you and me.
Please tighten and narrow the spiraled cell
so that my my awareness of self
dissipates in your Presence.
As I push aside all my preconceived notions,
manifest yourself to me and in me.
Be the reality of my longings.
Let me see only you.
As I dwell in this still, lucid moment with you—no matter how brief—may I know you.
Lord God, I ask that you increase the length
each time I join you there.
Then when I have seen you—
when my moment of awareness is done—
help me to walk outward again.
Retrace my steps with me and
help me to retrieve
only those things which will enable me
to bless and bring lucidity to others.
Amen and amen.