By Mary Noble Garcia

Overlooking a spring-fed lake, the labyrinth was cut into the prairie. The moon was rising on the horizon in the clear night sky. Darkness surrounded us as we stepped outside to walk the labyrinth.  These were the instructions:

  • Walk in silence.
  • If you pay close attention, the contrast between the light grass and the dark path will help you find your way.
  • There is only one path to the center and back out. Unlike a maze, you cannot get lost.
  • If you feel afraid, stop, and someone will come along to help you.
  • When you reach the center pause to spend time there.
  • You may take a light from the center for your walk out of the labyrinth.
  • You are welcome to leave your light on the path to guide others.

Our destination was illuminated by lights in the center that peeked through the tall grass. Silhouettes moving along the path reminded me that I was not alone. Entering the labyrinth my long shadow stretched in front of me. I paused, noticed my fear of the darkness, and continued on. The path curved. The bright light of the moon blinded me, briefly preventing me from finding my way.  As I reached up to shade my eyes a shooting star disturbed the darkness, stretching its long tail across the dark sky. Flickers of light began moving, each one held by those who had begun their journey out of the labyrinth. As I made another turn I was guided by one, two, three lights left along the path.  In the center many lights welcomed me where I paused and said a prayer of gratitude. With a light in hand I started on the path back out to the open prairie.  Darkness and light joined in the labyrinth and transformed my fear into gratitude.

The labyrinth is a symbol for the spiritual journey toward our deepest center where God dwells. Lessons from walking the labyrinth in the dark included:  take time to pause, be silent, and listen;  we are never alone on this journey of life;  discernment asks for attention to both darkness and light; and those who have come before us provide light for our spiritual journey.

Darkness and light met on this holy ground and blessed us.  Silence was our friend. The labyrinth was our teacher.