I love labyrinths.
The labyrinths to which I refer are NOT mazes (though the 80’s movie with David Bowie AND dictionary.com disagree with me).
The labyrinths to which I refer are contemplative paths. My previous writings on labyrinths explain that they are a metaphor on life for me. I love how there is a single path forward which makes turns back and forth on itself, always leading to the center. I gain comfort from the idea that my life IS leading somewhere even when it feels like I keep walking the same path over and over again. Even when it FEELS like I am going farther from the center, I am actually moving toward it.
The hike up to Bell Rock was NOT like a labyrinth. Quite the opposite. There was no one-way-forward. As I encountered the rock face I had to stop and discern where my next footstep would go.
For a good part of the way, the path was CLEAR!
“You are here”
At the beginning it was absolutely clear where I was and where I was supposed to be headed (metaphor: early in life it’s pretty clear what life is gonna look like, go to college, have a career, get married, have kids, earn retirement, get old and eventually die).
As the path went forward the path was not SO clear, but there were subtle path markers. I didn’t notice them at FIRST, but careful observation revealed that the odd gathering of rocks bound together by wire were in fact path markers (metaphor: the help wanted ad in the newspaper in 1994 was directing me to give accounting a try. Not so obvious, but in retrospect a clear call forward. John was the one to point out the help wanted ad to me. Thanks John.)
Eventually there were NO MORE path markers, just a big rock in my face. It’s a bit of a risk. Truly, the wrong step taken carelessly could have resulted in serious injury. Thankfully I read this excellent advice before taking on the hike up Bell Rock:
It is NOT necessary to go to the top of Bell Rock. Bell Rock has levels. Most people experience wonderfully uplifting and soaring experiences at just the first or second level. If you question should I go any higher, don’t. You have probably reached the level that is safest for you. Coming down try stepping side to side in difficult areas. If you are very uncomfortable, sit down and scoot over the steeper declines. (I posted this on my last entry…but for some reasons these words really resonate with me and I wanted to put them out here again.)
I spent about an hour and half on Bell Rock. I did 20 minutes to contemplative prayer at a very cool quiet part of the rock.
At this moment, in contrast, I am sitting on a balcony in Maui with my dearest of dearest friends. Boys are asleep in the cool bedroom. It’s the last morning of 7 mornings here and I just want to get this writing out while I sit here in peace and joy and love and hope.
Divorce is not at all what I expected and there is NO road map for my way forward.
I don’t know if I did the right thing every step of the path behind me. I don’t know if I took a wrong turn that will lead to my demise. Perhaps I took the path of least resistance.
Of course, one difference in my analogy of the labyrinths and rocks and mazes is I am not alone on this journey. I had a partner who got to make decisions. He made decisions over which I had no control.
Perhaps I was never meant to have a partner….perhaps I am best traveling alone.
I don’t know.
I have days where I feel I have ruined my kids’ lives.
As I sit here in THIS moment….I am thankful for the gal in the top picture at the top left. She keeps walking with me in the best of ways. She, for some really, really, really insane reason (I think it’s called love) has not run away from me when I have been my meanest and ugliest to HER.
As I sit here in this moment I am hoping my boys have enjoyed being with me as much as I have enjoyed being with them. And I smile as I realize that the next time they come to this island it will probably be without me. It will probably be with their best friends or with their families.
So I am SUCKING IN EVERY SINGLE SECOND of this last day on Maui with THEM. And I am thankful for every step of the path (determined and undetermined) which brought me to THIS moment.
Because, as so many of wisdom will point out, the present is all we really have. The past is the past, the future is unknown. All I know is this moment.
And this moment is fabuloso!!!!!