Alright God, this is the end of my retreat, you said I should come out here so tell me what to do.
Oh no, no no no…
Not the blind man again. That bible passage haunts me and irritates me… I just don’t like it.
Ok ok, I get it. I’ll go through it blind.
I walked through the narrow gates, shut my eyes tightly to prevent myself from cheating and proceeded with my plan. No blindfold necessary, I have integrity, right?
I had already walked through this maze two days ago, I had a rough idea of how it went – there’s only one way to go, I couldn’t possibly get lost.
I tried to orientate myself according to the midday sun, my feet grasped for the edge of the foot path, the goal in mind. I had a pretty good strategy going in: I just keep walking straight and when I hit the shrub, I turn left or right. It sounds simple really and how could I possibly mess up?
About 30 tiny steps in, I had lost all sense of direction, unsure of whether I had accidentally walked through the ixora shrubs or if I accidentally did a 180 because the path was quite wide. What if I was walking backwards, undoing everything!?
Half in the dirt, half on the path was the surest way my foot could be that I wasn’t going to walk backwards. I smiled in desperation as I looked like an odd limping-blind man. I was glad I couldn’t see the faces of people who walked by me. The brush of bushes activated the array of mosquito bites on my ankle but it was worth the sacrifice. Then, I stepped on something rounded and springy. It’s not concrete, it’s not soft dirt…. OH MY! DON’T TELL ME.. My eyes burst open and behold, in front of me lay
a yellow-and-green striped
After opening my eyes to encounter the pseudo-snake (you could say it represented sin), I continued my tedious limp-walk with a little more faith. At certain points I grew so worried I had to shout “Jesus.. I want to see!”. The quick cheat-glance didn’t really help all that much since I wasn’t sure if I was actually heading towards the middle or away from it (labyrinths cheat your feelings that way – they bring you close but you’re actually a long way off path wise).
Hobbling along, I began to feel the repetition irritate me. I think I made the same turn at least three times, perhaps I was just going in circles… When will this end? I tried changing foot but that confused me all the more. I tried a couple of times just walking without the hobble and it brought me much confidence and joy, but also a sense of uncertainty. It would have been a lot easier if Shaun was around to just walk with me and we could take turns navigating. Talk about an intense metaphor of life.
Shouting aloud and now having fully understood why the blind man Bartimaeus desired to see, I scanned my surroundings and realized I was 20 steps away from the center. I estimated the distances and walked with assurance, hands reaching out to embrace the wooden cross in the middle (just in case I crashed head first into it) and touching it, I rejoiced! I made it through life!!!
I hugged the cross with eyes wide open, mostly relieved I didn’t find myself at the concrete entrance. I stayed a little while and then walk the same way back to the entrance. My eyes were open, my pace twice as fast. It felt like purgatory. I finish with a nod to the cross and return to the air-con. 😉
There were many instances during this retreat to look at my life thus far and embrace the nonsense and the adventures. I had resented my current lifestyle because it’s a little too un-chill for my liking. A long list of people I should meet, a longer list of things I should do, and the guilt from the opportunity cost when I choose to do either one, or neither…
This is life at 29 for me, recognizing the waterfall of blessings and the amazing trees I see around me, going through a labyrinth to remind myself that it’s a journey I have to keep moving forward in, and rejoicing that I have a goal that I can look forward to regardless of how the next few chapters of life go.
You don’t see it in the photo but the river of life symbolically and beautifully ends in an ocean, where all that debris from the rocks, leaves I’ve collected and sediments from other streams empty out into a body of water so deep, so wide…
It’s a laundry list of things to accomplish but I’m glad I can move a little easier from things-I-should-do to things-I-want-to-do.
Thank God it’s Easter, Alleluia!