When we were in Kauai, we visited Christ Memorial Episcopal Church. This is an old church made of native stone and surrounded by colorful flowering plants and bushes. Inside, the stained-glass windows splash multicolored light across mahogany pews and altar. I was struck by how small the church was and how the sense of hope and sacredness—almost like the prayers and faith of generations—shimmered in the air.
Outside on the grounds, coconut palms reached for the sky, and in the old cemetery headstones of those long dead marched across the grounds in a surprisingly straight line. As I read the epitaphs, I realized not one person lived beyond forty years.
Beyond the graveyard, a labyrinth beckoned. Stepping out from under the trees, the sun gently warmed my back and shoulders. As I started down the twisted paths, a sense of peace and happiness surfaced from deep within. I felt myself relax into the here and now. There was not a tense muscle in my body.
It was then that I realized something had changed. The sadness, grief, and fear of the past two years that had sat on my shoulders and whispered in my ears melted away, to be replaced by a feeling of contentment that I faintly remembered. As the paths of the labyrinth twisted and turned, sometimes coming to a dead end and sometimes to an unexpected opening, I realized that life was like that. There will be times where we have to turn around and go in a different direction, and there will be times when we move forward.
But there will always be curves.
The peace and contentment I felt that day has stayed with me. Sometimes it is threatened by negative happenings. That’s when my fear starts to paint dire happenings in my head, and my shoulders rise up and my neck stiffens. But then I remember this blessed feeling is always there with open arms, waiting for me walk into its embrace, walking away from a dead end onto a new path or negotiating a curve—just like the labyrinth.