My oldest son had a bad day yesterday. He earned the wrong color on the behavior color chart, and I had to speak to his teacher.

The details aren’t important—I think he is learning her expectations, and she is attempting to set up a classroom for the year. As a former teacher myself, I get it.

But I couldn’t let it go. I felt a knot of rage and disappointment and fear, all twisted together right below my sternum. I wanted to storm into his classroom, and give his teacher the epic business whenever she dared correct my precious little snowflake of a child.

Yep. Crazytown. Express train to Eye Roll Central.

Of course this doesn’t have anything to do with our abrupt move, the uncertainty, the fear, and the loss. Not at all.

Instead of raging against the elementary school machine, I went to a labyrinth.

I’ve had a local friend, a social worker, speak to the meditative qualities of walking a labyrinth. Basically, you walk the patten, and either focus on a specific phrase or mantra, let your mind go blank, or invite the words to come into your mind.

I choose the latter. I walked the steps slowly, listening to the cars drive along the highway. It was warm and still, the air ripe and full.

And it worked. I heard truth.

My family is bigger than this moment.

I am too hard on the people I love the most.

Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

Stop planning.

I cried a little, and let the tears fall underneath my sunglasses.

And then, I returned to my car, and felt a little balloon, yellow and pure, bobbing within.

Sometimes, it’s about one step at a time. Embracing the turns. Leaning into them. And recognizing that in the end,  a bad day at school, or a hassle over paperwork, or even a plane ride across the Atlantic, is so very small, so very temporary, and so very full of grace.

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2 thoughts on “Labyrinth

  1. every Halloween, my wife, 3 daughters, sister in law, niece, and mother in law (me and 7 women) go to corn mazes/haunted house ste up about 3o minutes north of where we live. They have 3 different mazes set up and my middle daughter, who turns 9 in 2 days, and I usually run the mazes together. I always have a blast. Because you’re solving a problem with someone, getting exercise outside, and you’re understanding communication with yourself and your partner, in this case, my daughter.

    Parenting is just like running that corn maze. You find out your weaknesses whenever you hit a dead end. You discover your strengths when you reach a flag point where you punch your card.

    at the end of the maze you feel accomlished, knowing there’s another maze ahead.

    hang in there, dude.

  2. I have walked the labrynth up at St. Paul’s several times when I was just to angry or upset to be rational. I don’t know what it is, but I always leave with tears of relief and with rational answers and purpose. It always works.

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