by Pastor Audrey
It’s summertime, which means our monthly prayer walk time is now 8 a.m. rather than noon. This change in the monthly rhythm reminds me of one of the prayer walks from last summer…
As I was describing to our group how prayer labyrinths can be used as a method of prayer, I mentioned that one approach can be to carry an object into the labyrinth to be left in the center, a symbol of giving something over or laying something down. In a public labyrinth, it is nice if this can be something organic. As I said this I glanced around and my eye fell on a flower head that had been cut and was laying on the ground, obviously “deadheaded” by the gardeners. When it came time to enter the labyrinth, I picked up the flower head. I had nothing particular in mind as I stooped to pick it up, but thought I might see if I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to put something down that I was carrying.
As I began to walk, I held the flower by the stem between my index finger and thumb. Carrying it I kept asking myself “What do I need to let go of? What has perhaps been ‘spent’ or had its day in the sun and now is done? What is it? What is it? What is it?” And suddenly, the hospital bells rang out in a lullaby, the chimes that go off when a baby is born. And I almost burst into tears. I then realized how tightly I was holding that flower. And I began to reflect on how tightly I hold on to other things as well, and how desperately I want to control all aspects of my life.
My daughter was 4 months old at the time and I was slowly coming to realize how very many things in my life needed to change. My precious morning routine, for one. My habit of checking email compulsively at all times of the day and throughout the evening, for another. And I worry: “How will I be as productive now that I am a mother!?!” I think the answer is, I won’t. My priorities and values — including what I think makes ME valuable, all of it needs to change.
I don’t know how exactly, but as I laid the flower down in the center of the labyrinth, I did feel a weight lift from my shoulders. And making my way back out of the labyrinth I realized that I will just need to figure out the rest one step at a time.
Charley is now 15 months old and I’m still learning. She will be joining me tomorrow at the prayer labyrinth of St. Agnes Medical Center, located at the top of the law near the main entrance to the hospital. I hope to see you there, too.