Life's Sharp Turns

That each step / may be a shedding.
That you will let yourself / become lost.
That when it looks / like you're going backwards
you may be making progress.
That progress is not the goal anyway, / but presence
to the feel of the path on your skin, / to the way it reshapes you
in each place it makes contact, / to the way you cannot see it
until the moment you have stepped out.
“Walking Blessing” by Jan Richardson

I am grateful and indebted to the many of you who helped me put together our congregational proposal for the Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program. I will be taking my pastoral sabbatical from May-August 2020, and this grant application was quite an invigorating undertaking. I am truly excited by the potential of our project, “Labyrinth Walking: Integrative Journeys of Renewal.” As I researched and thought about the spiritual possibilities of labyrinth walking, I discovered that there are 150 labyrinths within a 50 mile radius of my home. Amazing!

And then the day after I submitted all the various components of the application, I was taking Clivie to his martial arts class. We were a little early, and so we decided to walk for a little while along Lake Merritt. We watched the birds, climbed trees, and enjoyed the sun. And as we walked back to our car, there next to us on the trail . . . was one of those 150 labyrinths! This labyrinth was dug deeply into the ground so that the sides of the path made little raised hills. I immediately understood this surprising synchronicity as an invitation, and I started walking the path. Clivie, on the other hand, started jumping over the path from hill to hill. And before we left, a young man on a mountain bike started riding the twisting path on his bike. At one point, we almost ran into each other. I stepped out of the way; he apologized. And I said, “Wow! This must be great practice for mountain biking.” And he said, “Yeah, the best. There’s nothing like learning to navigate these sharp turns. . . .”

Truly, our different spiritualities may call us to approach life’s sharp turns differently, but we are all called to the journey. And it is a gift to be on this journey with you.

See you in church,