My Perfect Labyrinth

Have you ever had a time when you just felt in sync with where and what you should be doing? Last weekend was wonderful that way. Don’t get me wrong, it was also exhausting. But, sometimes, the two things can coexist.

We had a board meeting on Saturday for Quaker House. I had worked hard and had two extra reports that represented significant effort and had, likewise, required quite a bit of attention to detail. I stayed up late the night before to make the house more accommodating to the dog sitter spending some time here and left early in the morning for the two-hour drive. The board meeting went well. I am always amazed by the dedication of our board members.

I got to my hotel room, let my daughter know I was out of the board meeting and to text me when I could come over, and them promptly crashed, full out, in the bed, under the covers. When my daughter texted, I went over to her place to spend a few hours catching up with her and my son-in-law. I love spending time with them. Amazing, crazy, motivated kids who keep me on my toes intellectually with their insights into their world and their open hearts.

Sunday, I got to go to Meeting for Worship with Attention to Business and to Worship with Spring Friends. I have not worshiped with them since August and I have missed them! During the business meeting, a local cat was wandering around in the snow and was welcomed in to share our breakfast, warmth, and discussions.

Cat acting as assistant recording clerk.

Finally, before beginning the two-hour drive back to Fayettteville, I had seen the pleasant forecast and brought a change of clothes so that I could visit the Shallow Ford Trail again. I have not found my perfect trail in Fayetteville, and I was really missing Shallow Ford. Two people warned me, “It’ll be muddy and wet.” “It’s okay. I brought my muddy and wet shoes.” The second I stepped onto the foot bridge over a tiny creek that begins the trail and heard the gurgling of the water over bits of ice and rocks, I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

Shallow Ford, like many trails through wooded areas, winds back and forth and round and about. It goes uphill and downhill. Sometimes, there are trees that have come down and have not been cleared away, yet.

We have mindfulness classes at Quaker House and, the first Thursday of the month, Holy Trinity opens their beautiful labyrinth to the public. That labyrinth is peaceful and serene. It makes up the floor of the sanctuary, is lit by votive candles artistically placed around it, and you can hear the trickling water of the baptismal font. It leaves nothing to be desired in beauty and in inviting a clear mind.

I have also walked an outdoor labyrinth at Stony Point Center in New York. It is simpler, but makes up for that simpleness by being outside.

I have been trying to love labyrinths, to confine my feet to their intricate patterns. But, now I finally realize, my perfect labyrinth is laid out in the winding trails through wooded areas along rivers and tributaries, up hills and down slopes, over rocks and around occasionally fallen trees. My perfect labyrinth is of the more wild variety.

 

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Saturdays and Sundays

I used to dream of having “cottage meetings” in my living room. In my mind, they were unfettered religious discussions.

As I was applying to become the executive director of Quaker House, imagine how wonderful I thought it was that Fayetteville Friends met in the living room. There was even a short pew as part of the furniture!

I still think it is wonderful.

But, as I am settling into new routines, and this morning found myself catching up on dishes, doing laundry so that cloth napkins would be clean (today is potluck Sunday), straightening up, and sweeping floors, the words of a song from my childhood came to mind, “Saturday is a special day, it is the day we get ready for Sunday.”* The words go on to describe all the errands and cleaning that are done. As a child, I did not think cleaning was so special, despite the happy little tune. I still don’t. But, I don’t want to spend my Sunday mornings doing it — in the way that it gets done because people are coming over.

And, I have been doing it every Sunday morning since September 1.

I did all the regular running of errands and grocery shopping yesterday (Saturday), along with everyone else in the world, it seemed. I did some work, because what day of the week does an executive director of a small nonprofit not work at least some part of it? At that point, the last thing I wanted to do was the cleaning and straightening. Saturdays are the one day when other people are not actually scheduled to be in my home — usually. They are kind of special to me in that way. I felt I deserved a little downtime.

And, I don’t disagree with that assessment.

But, I also would rather go into Sunday worship not having had to first do so much housework. I think I will try to fine-tune that part of my new routines and life.

Because, while you still can’t convince me that doing chores in order to prepare for a future day is special, my quiet Sunday mornings are special. I miss them.

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*Children’s Songbook, No. 196, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989. Words and lyrics by Rita S. Robinson, arr. by Chester W. Hill.