Labyrinth Walking Jeanne Tessier
Unlike life, this journey begins with intention.
I came here by choice and stand at the rim of this
circle of brick whose pattern is formed in two tones.
I have walked such forms before. Each time, there are
things I remember, things I forget, things I learn anew.
Unlike in life, I trod this path a step at a time, my mind
here, this foot and this step, perhaps because the path
is narrow and, because it is a path so clearly marked,
one feels obliged to walk it as it lays. There is nothing but
the walking, this step and then the next, forward, but
slowly, knowing — as I so often forget in the daily walk–
that the center is there, the center waits, the center holds.
The center is the goal and destination, so close, so near,
visible at times and then not, a step away and then again
receding. The center doesn’t move, but we do, the path does;
we wander, close, near enough to touch, and then away.
Just when we think we have arrived, we are led out again
to the very rim of the story, on a distant path, the center
yet again beyond our reach. Oh, I have walked this path
so many times, here and everywhere. Ever, as I walk,
the truth comes, the moment comes when I say to the
One who holds the center, Who I seek, “I am lost.”
It is a cry my God has heard from me so many times.
“I am lost and I do not know the way.” How, after all
these years, can I still be lost? God answers, “Ah, but
your feet are on the path. Your destination is clear.
I am here. I wait for you.” Here, unlike in life, here
where the path is visible and the center can be found,
all the other noise and clutter falls away. There is just
this path, just this circle that holds and embraces me,
just this certainty that if I persist the center will be
found. I walk, careful. I do not look ahead, or up,
but down — at my feet walking, at the narrow path
on which I trod, at my plodding step, at the exquisite
care with which this path has been prepared. And then
suddenly the center comes, or rather I come to the
center’s opening and step inside. So: for this one
moment, at least, I have arrived, I have come home.
But: it is always disappointing. The destination attained,
yet we cannot stay. Here we come to be fed only,
to rest maybe, to meet the Unseen Face to face.
But we cannot stay. We must go out again. We must
find our way back into the world, back onto the path
we wander there, to do what we can, and to hope –
and hope – that the center waits, the center holds, and
to the center we will one day all and ever come.