What a ride! That's all I can say about this trip that started at 6pm Monday, and finished shortly after 3pm on the Fourth of July. But many miles, rest stops, and time spent with my brother's family in Connecticut later...I have arrived with my mom at our family's house in the middle of Exeter, New Hampshire.
After so many hours in a car crammed almost to the top with mother's "things", I decided the best medicine for me, and my stiff back, was to take a walk along the sidewalks and streets I remember so well from my childhood.
My footsteps led me past the statue by Daniel Chester French in Gale Park, down Pine Street, to an old familiar place: Christ Church.
The outside of the building looks the same: I'm convinced it still could be confused for a NASA complex. There's a reason Eucharistic Prayer C was so popular there...with it's language referencing "the vast expanse of interstellar space". But something new has been added to the landscape. As I walked across the front lawn of the church, I was pleased to find they've constructed a labyrinth with mulch pathways and granite masonry. Beside it is a tree ringed with bricks containing names such as "Taylor" and "Aly". And given the decorative art work, I figured this had to be something the youth group had done. Whether the kids were responsible for laying out the labyrinth I don't know. But how cool to have one there at the church that seems so beautifully made and maintained.
I set an intention, and I took a meditative walk along this curvy path. It didn't matter that this labyrinth was street-side of Christ Church; once I was on the walk, all other cares and concerns began to fall away. As I sat on one of the benches in the center, I reflected on the long journey...not just driving my mom home this time....but the journey that began with bringing my father to Florida in the summer of 2005...followed with driving my mom down with her "things" a couple months later.
Sitting there, I became aware of all that has happened in that time in my life in that time: doing what I could to be there for my parents and helping my mom through the pain of watching my dad's slow crawl toward death. Trying, as a self-employed person, to be a friend and daughter to my mom these past few months. And now, the completion of this cycle in that I have brought her back home.
And, as has happened to me before in the labyrinth in Gainesville, I had a sense that I was not really alone as I sat there. And I was reminded of Christ's promise to be with me always "to the end of the age." My sense was, he was there with me, reminding me that I don't have to carry all my burdens by myself.
If you had asked me three years ago if I would be sitting at a computer writing such words about God, I would have looked at you sideways and then laughed at you, mocking such a ridiculous suggestion. But as I close another chapter in my life, I realize that the constant and consistent character of Christ has to remain in the storyline for me. Not in a Bible-thumping way, but in that way I experienced his presence in the labyrinth.
He's just there ready and willing to be supportive. Always.