I started out to walk the labyrinth in our yard today. Even in the misty rain, I walked, umbrella in hand.
Our neighborhood was especially quiet because it was raining. No soccer games. No lawnmowers or leaf blowers. Just the rain on the leaves and grass around me. I was in a different place, deep in thought, far from suburbia.
On the far side of the labyrinth, two rabbits were having elevenses, their ears twitching and eyes focused on what this human among them was doing. Was she confused? Friend? Foe? Lost? They nibbled carefully and watched.
All was serene until I walked about halfway through the circuit and the insects “found” me. I must have looked quite ridiculous to the rabbits because I was doing the “dance of the mosquitos” (step-slap-step-slap-step-step-step-slap-scratch-step). Then the gnats arrived, floating around my head like some kind of pesky veil. I waved my hands to keep them at bay. At that point I was hard-pressed to return to my former state of reflection and meditation, and the walk became and exercise in perseverance.
Not exactly the beautiful, restive moments I was looking for.
“Well, THAT’S a little impossible,” I thought. And I retreated back into the patio, a little disgruntled. The quiet and peace of the moment now eluded me.
I thought of Augustine’s words:
It is solved by walking.
What had I “solved” through my abbreviated tour of the labyrinth? What lesson came amidst moquitos, gnats, and rabbits?
The answer came slowly as these words from James 1:2 came to mind…
When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!
Mosquitos and gnats.
Arguments and dissension.
Pain and worry.
Rabbits and birds.
llness and grief.
Sometimes they are just minor irritations, sometimes they are major heartaches, and sometimes they drive us from the path we had planned for the day. I sat on the porch, fans and citronella keeping the pests at bay. I watched the rabbits feed and listened again to the rain.
It was a disrupted meditation, to be sure. As I refocused and prepared for the day’s activities, I was reminded that many times as I walk through this life, I have “holy disruptions.” Plans get changed. Others’ needs trump my own. And all manner of minor inconveniences distract me, which is sometimes OK, and sometimes need to be set aside to deal with at another time.
Sometimes it comes back to walking, listening, and walking some more, and inviting those holy disruptions to walk with me.
Thanks be to God.