by Debbonnaire Kovacs
10. Two people can be on the same Path to the same Center, walking in opposite directions.
This was another of my most important insights when I first began to learn about labyrinths. I used to believe you could tell where a person was headed by specific things you saw them doing or not doing. Attending church? I knew better than to think that guaranteed an actual relationship with the God of Life, but it was a good indicator. Avoiding discussions of God or religion? Bad indicator.
By the time I had a labyrinth, I had long since learned that someone who screamed at her kids might actually love the kids and God but have deep inner issues that needed worked out. (I had learned that from painful personal experience, you understand.) I had begun to realize that just about the only thing I can tell by watching someone is whether love is important to them (good indicator, and can be visibly present even in a screamer) or whether they are indifferent (the actual opposite of love, and indifferent people usually don't care enough about anything to scream, but if they do, they show no remorse.) I had learned long before that love is what matters, and that people can do the wrong thing even from a loving heart, or do the "right" thing without love and, as Paul pointed out, it's worthless.
Still, the person who truly desires Love, which is to say, truly desires God (whether they recognize that or not) wants desperately to learn to do the right thing, from a loving heart. And I was now receiving intense counseling from a person to whom God and Love mattered more than anything else. Therefore, God could and did use this counselor to show me the way through my demon-infested dungeons to God's Light, and how to cast out the demons of fear and anger and self-negation on the way.
So as I walked the paths of my new labyrinth and paid attention, I discovered the things I've been writing about here: that you walk away from the center as much as toward it, that there is a true path, and you do have to choose to stay on it and not turn back, and so on. And it came to me—
There you are, struggling along on the Path of Life. You don't really understand all the twists and turns, but God and godly friends are at your side, and you trust that you really are getting closer to the center, which you get tantalizing glimpses of, now and then. You see another person moving along, in precisely the opposite direction you are moving, and you realize (you can't always tell this in life, but sometimes you can) that person is on the same Path of Life, probably with her own struggles and comforters, and she, too, will reach the Center. Possibly before you.
It's a liberating realization! Comforting, too, especially if you are lucky enough to see her "arrive."
It gives you hope