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Being sick is never enjoyable, but we can find ourselves with unexpected blessings during those times and Good Friday was one of those for me.

The week before Easter I developed a bit of a cough that eventually wound up developing in to a bad case of bronchitis. Not sleeping, coughing and feeling basically rotten isn’t something I wanted for this special time of year. I had hoped to attend the Good Friday service at our church. Unfortunately, I was exhausted from not sleeping and was still coughing a fair amount so I wound up sitting on my couch feeling disappointed—then I saw IT.

I was looking out our back windows at an absolutely gorgeous sunset. The sky was turning vibrant shades of pinks, blues & purples– it was truly breathtaking. My eyes fell on a clump of trees that are off in the distance and all of a sudden I saw an image in those trees that I’d never seen before….an unmistakeable shape of a cross. The longer I looked at it, the more meaningful it became. I saw it as God’s way of reminding me of the true meaning of Good Friday.

 

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I had my husband take this picture and yes, I posted it to facebook. One comment made by a friend stated my feelings perfecty – “Way, way more meaningful than a church service”. It seems that sometimes we think that the only way we can have a spiritual experience is to sit in a church sanctuary, but we need to be reminded that God can meet us wherever we are—even being sick on a couch.

God gave us the MOST incredible gift on the cross that day, but we continue to be given loving gifts . We just need eyes and a heart that can ‘see’ them.

 

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My Good Friday Cross

 

 

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Garden Labyrinth at West Shore Evangelical Free Church

Up until a year ago I had never heard of a ‘labyrinth’. During a session with my Spiritual Director, she mentioned that walking a labyrinth might be helpful to me. We drove to on that was nearby and it was beautiful– surrounded by trees, gardens and next to a pond with a fountain. I had no idea the impact that little ‘walk’ would have on me.

From the minute I took my first step across the entrance I began to forget about things outside of the labyrinth. One of the first things I saw was a rock with the word “Breathe” on it and I realized that I was tense and had been holding my breath. I consciously relaxed my body and slowly let my breath out. That simple act of letting go of my breath somehow opened up my heart.  I know it may sound a bit crazy, but as I walked the grassy path it felt like I truly was somehow entering into the presence of God. I’m not exactly sure why, but the simple act of walking that labyrinth started a process that has enabled me to be more open and receptive to spiritual things.

One thing I’ve done to continue that process is to be part of building a garden labyrinth at my church. (see pictures) It was a lot of work, but it felt ‘right’ to be doing it. It has been done partly as a memorial to those who are no longer with us and is a place where people can go and remember their loved ones and seek to find comfort and healing.

I often go to the labyrinth just as the sun is setting—in the cool of the evening. I walk up to the entrance, remove my shoes and begin to walk the grassy path to the center. Sometimes I have music and other times I simply listen to the night sounds. There is a tree and a little bench in the center and I usually find myself kneeling and allowing my soul to open up. As I pour out my heart to God a peace slowly begins to fill me. After a while I stand up and begin the walk back out. I can’t explain it, but I almost always feel comforted and a bit stronger to face the next day.

 

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Bench at center of Labyrinth for sitting or kneeling

 

Walking a labyrinth may not have this effect on everyone, but I am thankful that I have discovered one way that I can draw closer to God. I would encourage you to find whatever works for you. If you’d like to explore this further, Gary Thomas wrote a book called “Sacred Pathways” that talks about the different ‘paths’ to God that might be the way to help our souls open up to spiritual things. There is an entire spiritual world out there and we just have to find ways to become aware of it. For me, the labyrinth is one way I can do this.

 

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Me at entrance of Labyrinth (barefoot and ready to walk)

(for those of you who know me, I did make some jewelry with labyrinth charms

so that my jewelry can ‘feel’ right while I walk the labyrinth. )

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View of Labyrinth from gardens on hill

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Sitting area at entrance of Labyrinth–can be used to prepare to walk or to wait for someone who is walking.

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