A labyrinth is not like a maze, whose purpose is to thwart the walker’s cunning, lose her in a splatter of dead ends, spin him back to the beginning before earning a finish. A labyrinth is a disappointment for a person hoping for such a puzzle. No challenge, no tense thrill. Just one foot in front of the other like any other day. One path takes you to the labyrinth’s center and the same path takes you back out again, exiting exactly where you entered. No matter the paths we walk left to our own devices, for the next six hours there would be no doubt about the way our footsteps were to be set.
Perhaps like these women and the little girl, and maybe like others who feed people as part of a parenting vocation or faith community, I see the garden through the lens of my own faith and call to mothering and being mothered, the garden as a connection to nourishment and solace.
And to redemption. A safe haven where I might receive life and pass it on, or get it back from the edge of death.
Hospitality is serving people and helping people who are in our home. We listen. If they stay in our home, I fix meals and prepare a bed and so forth for them. I read something about—I think it is Benedict's Rule of Hospitality—that there's a difference between serving and being a servant. When I'm serving, I'm in charge. If I'm a servant, you're part of it. If you want to do something to help me, I'll let you do it because that's allowing you in. You're not being in charge. I'm not being in charge.
Someday, I’ll sit under a tent next to my mother’s casket, which will be adorned with yellow roses. Tears and laughter will mingle as I think of that chicken brooding over her, a symbol left behind for her loved ones of her humor and care. I will remember how I was shepherded in childhood, surrounded with death in life and life in death. And I’ll go on.
If the need for approval is analogous to the need for a drug, I’m never going to be cured. And I don’t think that’s admitting defeat. It’s giving up the charade that we’re rational animals capable of self-sufficiency, which is neither true of our bodily needs—cities, police, and Wi-Fi are things I want to keep—or of our emotional needs—to be listened to, to be agreed with, and to be congratulated, every so often.
After the state championship, the real world came crashing in and told me that I wasn’t perfect.