Last year I took an overnight retreat at a monastery located not too far from home tucked away in the woods. When I left, they said I was welcome to come any time to visit or walk the grounds. I had some time to myself today and decided to go there. A few months back I had read that the monastery was closed to visitors due to the pandemic. As I drove in, I figured that was the case since there was nobody around and no cars in the parking lot. There was a big sign that said they were still closed and a smaller sign on the front door, so I went to read it. It said basically the same thing, but in more detail. As I was walking away, one of the ladies came out and asked if she could help me. I explained that I was just looking for a peaceful place and wondering if it was ok to walk around the grounds. She said that was just fine and told me about the various prayer spaces. I was glad to hear that. As I meandered the trails, I was totally alone. It was very peaceful. I remembered where the labyrinth was and made my way over. Before I entered, I decided I would try to clear my mind and simply Be Still. At times the trail was close to the middle and I would think I was almost there. Then it would take me further away. It occurred to me that it corresponded to my life. There are times when I feel very close in my relationship with God – like I may finally “get it”. Then things happen and I find myself further away than I want to be. It also occurred to me that my life is not necessarily about making it or rushing to my next goal – whatever that may be. But it is the journey that matters. How I spend the time along the way is what is important. The experiences I have and the people in my life are all opportunities to further my faith and deepen my love. When I reached the center of the labyrinth, I sat on one of the rock benches and rested. I saw some pine cones, twigs, and such in a little pile in the middle of the circle. I investigated further and saw they were in the shape of a heart. That’s it. That’s the goal. When the journey of my life is over, I pray that I will reach the ultimate, infinite love which is God and be in His rest and peace.
I Found God today walking prayer trails alone in the woods.