We are blessed with a home that sits on 2.6 acres of land, most of that being a large field. Over the years we've added some texture to that field. We've planted trees along the road. We've cultivated forsythias to create a winding pathway - our "yellow brick road" - that leads from the center of the field to a shady sit-spot along the tree line, under the wide and embracing branches of a hickory tree. And we leave small sections of the field un-mowed to create undercover for little critters and to allow wild plants and flowers to grow for the bees and butterflies and birds.
My most favorite part of our field, however, is the labyrinth my husband keeps mowed for me in the back corner of the field. It's a simple labyrinth with a small stone bench in the center, and a half mile walk in and back out. I have walked miles upon miles in that labyrinth over the past 8 years.
Yesterday was a particularly nice New England winter morning. The perfect amount of cold balanced with the perfect amount of morning sun. Birds flittering about the trees and singing in the woods that abut two sides of the field. A lazy morning of skipping church in order to join with my husband and son in watching the final World Cup soccer game.
And on this morning, I connected with an ACIM experience of walking the labyrinth. As I followed the path in towards the center, I had the sense of letting go the world. All its appearances and illusions. All my fears and doubts. All my interpretations and judgments.
²I who remain as God created me would loose the world from all I thought it was. ³For I am real because the world is not, and I would know my own reality. [CE W-132.15:2-3]
As I loosed the world from all I thought it was, I moved closer to the center - the center of the labyrinth and the center of my being. Closer to my Self as God created me, closer to God Whom I've never actually left in truth. Until I arrived in the center, sitting on the bench, completely present in that moment, feeling the sun warm my face and listening to the birds.
3 The present now remains the only time. ²Here in the present is the world set free. ³For as you let the past be lifted and release the future from your ancient fears, you find escape and give it to the world. [CE W-132.3:1-3]
Here I prayed, present in this moment, allowing myself to rest in God until it felt like my time there was complete. As I walked the labyrinth back out, I considered what I was bringing with me back into the world. A new state of mind, centered in a glimpse of remembering the truth of who I am.
Walking back out into the world, bringing with me the readiness to offer my brothers the peace, joy, hope, and love - the miracles - to which we are all entitled to.
1 You are entitled to miracles because of what you are. ²You will receive miracles because of what God is. ³And you will offer miracles because you are one with God. [CE W-77.1:1-3]
I stopped into our local grocery store this morning to pick up a gift card to Michael's for my mom-in-law for Christmas. As I stood at the end-cap, searching for a Michael's gift card, the woman next to me commented on how they had gift cards for every business except the one she was searching for - Barnes and Noble. When she walked away, I moved in to get a closer look in my search and lo and behold, I found the Barnes and Noble gift cards!
I quickly grabbed one and found the woman a few aisles over. She was pleasantly surprised and thankful, and joined me as I walked back to the gift cards. As I pointed out the location, I exclaimed how the tables had turned - I found her's, but it appeared they did not have the one I was looking for. When she asked, I told her Michael's and then started to walk away.
As I did, I heard her exclaim, "here it is!" As she pulled it off the rack to hand to me, I burst out laughing. Neither one of us alone could find what we were looking for. But in her gratitude of my finding what she was looking for, she was able to return the favor by finding what I was looking for.
Had I found the gift card she wanted, but not taken the step to let her know (or had she not even spoken to a stranger in the first place!), we would've both walked away disappointed - not having seen what was right in front of our eyes. We laughed together, feeling a little silly, and at the same time expressing our gratitude, and wishing each other a Merry Christmas.
This was a simple encounter, and yet one I hold in my heart as a holy encounter. I know we both walked away lighter - filled with the joy of helping one another and joining together in laughter, gratitude, and love.
6 When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. ²As you see him, you will see yourself. ³As you treat him, you will treat yourself. ⁴As you think of him, you will think of yourself. ⁵Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose sight of yourself. ⁶Whenever two Sons of God meet, they are given another chance at salvation. ⁷Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. ⁸For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you. [CE T-8.II.6]