October 22, 2014 Today was more difficult for me than it should have been. Today I had to force myself to take time and do nothing. I thought of things I am supposed to be doing. I thought of the upcoming assignments that I should be doing. yet I can’t work on them because I am forced to take time and do nothing except rest something I must do this to write a paper on. Rather interesting quandary: Do nothing except rest or partake in a “holy leisure” activity so that i can write a paper on what I experience by doing this. What can I do and for how long will I last? These questions became like a mantra. I opted for a leisurely walk. But where to walk and should I take the dogs? After some thought I decided not to take my dogs. Love them but, this assignment needed my full attention. A little more pondering and I chose to walk the labyrinth again. I drove over, left my phone in the car and kept my shoes on this time. I walked leisurely to the start of this maze. I tried to shove everything from my head and quiet the voices that were telling me what I needed to get done and what deadlines were coming up. the nagging questions of: how I was going to pay my bills, how long would I have to live with friends, when would this divorce become final, when would i get my life back, where was God when i needed him, and Why couldn’t he answer any of my prayers, all bounced around my head and refused to leave. I started walking very slowly. With each step I pushed away or tried to the distractions that disturbed my focus. By the end of the first quadrant, I had managed to get some focus, empty some thoughts from my head and now I could take bolder steps. I walked even slower and began saying the words light, heal, help. Before I was done with the quadrant the word help became my call. Over and over with each step I spoke this. At the start of the third quadrant, I began to argue with God. I got angry. Why was he letting me suffer? Why didn’t he answer prayer? Why was his timing such that I felt overwhelmed? What was his purpose for allowing me to feel this way? I yelled. I spoke with my hands. I got more angry over having to take some time with God when I could have used this time to do some reading for a class. By the end of the quadrant, I was calmer. In the last quadrant, I walked and thought. I reviewed what I had been going through and tried to find a reason for it. I found none. I made it to the center. I was exhausted. I was focused but still I couldn’t feel God near me. I sank to the ground, curled up in a fetal position, and cried. I laid prone with the rocks on my face. I cried harder. I gave up. I quit crying. I stopped thinking. I completely shut down. For an hour, I laid there. Two women came up to check on me. They asked if I was ok. I spoke one word, Yes. I never looked at them. I just stared at the sky. I felt hollow. I felt broken. I felt alone. I gave up trying to feel God. I gave up expecting an answer. I gave up on everything. When I had nothing left, I stood up and slowly walked the path leading back out. With the first quadrant done, I began to feel wind and sun. I heard outdoor noises. At the end of the second quadrant, I began feeling lighter. Quadrant three and I began repeating this to will pass. Part way through the last quadrant, I stopped and turned to look behind me. I traced my life, my steps, my feelings mentally, drawing a line in my mind around this maze. I turned to look ahead of me. But I couldn’t mentally relive my steps or draw the line that I would follow out. I pushed myself to move. I had carried a rosary in with me and held it loosely. Near the end, I tightened my hold on it. I said the Lords Prayer. I said a Hail Mary. Tears flowed from my eyes. I was near the end of the maze. Readying myself to leave it, I stopped to pray hard. I knelt down and kissed the earth. I looked up to the trees. The leaves reminded changes come to us all. The seasons change but so do we. Not just by adding a year onto our age but through our experiences we grow. We change. Change, is good. Change is a necessity, a voice inside me said. I looked at the leaves individually. Each leaf represented a change I had been through since February of this year. Some were good. Some have been heart wrenching. Some will reveal their reasons for needing to happen later. Standing, I breathed in deeply. I took those final few steps out of the labyrinth. I had left behind some burdens in the center. I felt lighter and yes, I felt God holding me. I went to my car slowly. Each step I forced myself to find a blessing. By the time I reached my car. I realized the biggest blessing was taking the time to force myself to find God. I had been letting him seek me when I should have been seeking after him. This forced intentional Sabbath is needed for each of us. We all find things that we need to do. Things that take up our time and leave us feeling unappreciated, overwhelmed, overworked, unloved by God. By taking down time, we relax, refocus, refresh, renew, not only ourselves but our relationship with God. Isn’t that what God intended when he gave the commandment: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Intentional Sabbath no matter what day we celebrate it on is something we should embrace if we desire to continue to grow in our faith and spirituality. At least I learned I need to do this.