The Labyrinth of Wake Divinity
I step out of my shoes, cool tile on the soles of my feet. The gentle flicker of candles, and the silencing of the normal hustle and bustle of the Lower Auditorium let me know that I am in Holy time. The anxiety of five minutes ago seems surreal and absurd. What papers, what services, what interviews, what blogs? This is time for me and for God. I begin to walk, slowly, deliberately, watching my feet as they move along the white path. My crooked pinkie toe, and the ring I’ve worn since I was fifteen are as familiar to me as anything, and yet I hardly ever notice their existence. My feet that carry me from class to library, to class, home again, around the block with my dogs, back to the car, flexing and extending across town to work, spinning me around, quickly, swiftly and back again, stretching, and cramping and supporting me throughout this journey….there they are, step by step forward on the path. If I keep watching my feet, I don’t know where I am going, but I trust that I will get there. If I look up, I can no longer see the path, the twists and turns are too tight to navigate with my peripheral vision.
Before I know what’s happened I’m at the center, staring at a single flickering flame. Am I at the beginning again, or have I come to the end? How can a person make that determination? There is no frame of reference, no sign, and no direction. I could have taken some, it was offered, but I chose to go in blind, plunge into the experience, and find what I could find. I bend over and pick up a translucent purple stone, set there to remind me of Holy Week, of Jesus and his trials, travels, and transformations, setting the rhythm of our Christian life together. This is what I am doing here. This is my purpose. This is why I am standing, barefoot, alone, on a large piece of canvas, in the middle of our common space, on a Wednesday morning. I am searching for Jesus.
I begin my journey back out, holding onto my little rock. It is a little easier to get out, I move with more ease, and less hesitancy. I know that when I get out, the requirements of the day will continue to be present, and I will continue to work towards accomplishing them. I will take things one step at a time, move forward with deliberation, and with security in knowing that the path I am on is going somewhere. I can’t see all of the twists and the turns without tripping myself, so I am going to focus on what I can. I am on a path looking for Jesus. Even though the path I am walking seems just to have me on it, in reality I am behind many who have gone before me, and there will be many more to come behind. We are on a path that was forged by Jesus. We may have different ways of setting out, but our common arrival at this place is a testament to our shared purpose and our shared journeys with, towards, or for Jesus the Christ.
As I step back into my shoes, and pick up my satchel, I tuck my little purple stone into my pocket. This week, month – even year – may at times feel like a convoluted or overwhelming set of tasks, which probably are not getting me anywhere. Sometimes, I need to be reminded that I’m not. Getting somewhere is not the point. Being somewhere and seeing the grace of Christ in a moment is more important, and more relevant than any amount of getting places ever will be. It is what I am doing here. I am grateful to be in a community which is committed to being here too.
Helena is a second-year student interning at New Creation Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC. She is interested in exploring all types of spiritual practice and embodiment.