Just up the street from our house is St. Mary's church. Behind the church, on the grounds of what was once the convent of the Presentation Sisters, are three distinct prayer gardens. As you walk through the first garden you notice the rows of nearly identical white metal crosses. Each one showing the name of the nun buried there. An ornate metal gate surrounds them and angels stand at the entrance while in the middle of it all an old tree with gnarly branches spreading out over the entire area protects the sisters below. Rose bushes, shrubs and bushes with red, purple and yellow flowers line the wall leading to the second garden.
You enter through the archway in the brick wall and find a labyrinth flanked by trees and spaces where benches will sit come spring. Beyond this garden is the third garden or the family tree garden. Here various types of trees planted in honor of loved ones passed fill the spaces between picnic tables and benches. In the corner is an amphitheater surrounded by wooden benches. Birdsongs are always heard here no matter the weather. It's as if you were standing in a bird sanctuary. It's really lovely to sit and listen to them singing.
But it's the labyrinth garden that I go to when I need to clear my head. And so it was today when I couldn't quiet my mind enough to find inspiration for writing. In spite of storm Jonas, having left the United States and landing here, it was fairly still this afternoon so I headed up to the labyrinth. As I reached it, the rain began to fall in the soft way it often does here. I continued to move through the labyrinth sharing the space with the rain. Each time I spend time here, allowing my thoughts to settle I walk away with a message of sorts. One was that of letting go. Another was to notice. And as I walked in the rain tears began to mix with the mist on my face. Suddenly, a ray of sun burst through the grey clouds. A beam of light stretched from the sky directly down to me and for a second I felt like I should be saying, "beam me up, Scotty." It was strange. There I stood in the rain with a beam of sunlight shining on me while everything else around was dark and grey. I realized then, that even in the darkness there is light. I may need to look a little harder but it's there-either outside or in. And maybe they are one in the same, after all. So I walked on and by the time I reached the end of the labyrinth my message seemed to be about clearing a path. I'm not sure I know what that means, or if it's necessary to know at this moment.
What I do understand is that in order to notice, and to clear the path for whatever may come I am having to let go of what and who no longer bring light into my life. This is a painful path for me right now because I'm surprised at what and who I need to let go of, but it's one that seems clear I need to be traveling. So I'll continue to find the light, walk the labyrinth, be open to wherever this journey is leading me and be thankful for the ones that will come along with me.