At the retreat I learned that seashells are a symbol of one’s spiritual journey from birth to death in Christianity. How wonderful, because I have seashells in my garden! And on my porch! Now they mean more to me than just a decoration. Also, if you take a cross section of a conch shell, you will see that the shell grows in a spiral! The basic labyrinthine pattern occurs naturally in nature! I also have some plants in my garden that symbolize a journey from birth to death by the way they are constantly growing and reproducing. The elephant ear is the best example. The largest always has at least four leaves. One always ages and dies but at the same time a new one is being unfurled at the base of the plant. This plant also reproduces new plants constantly, and they range in size from tiny ones with three inch leaves to larger ones with nine inch leaves. The same is true of the four o’clock plants and the alligator cacti. In the same flower bed I see baby, child, adolescent, adult and aged elephant ears, four o’clocks, and alligator cacti.
In closing I want to share one more thing that God taught me about the labyrinth. It represents different things according to my spiritual needs at the time I am using it, but when I arrive at the center, that is where I am still and listen to God. The center can represent different things. Sometimes my pilgrimage leads me to the foot of cross, often to a state of wellness, frequently to the promises of God. I used to think, “When I get to the center I will be in God’s presence. Then I can ask him what I came for, and then I’ll say good bye, walk out of the labyrinth, and return to the secular world with the wisdom that God just imparted to me.” One day it dawned on me that God is not confined to the center of a labyrinth, any more than He is confined to a church building or temple! God is always present; He never leaves my side – or yours, because He is omnipresent! So what is so special about the center of the labyrinth? God answered my question. God and I commune in the labyrinth without the distractions of daily life. I can clear my mind of them and only focus on Him. Now when I get ready to walk out of the labyrinth I don’t say, “Goodbye, God.” Instead I say, “OK, God, let’s go back to the real world.” And we walk out together – which is, actually, when I think about it, the same way we walked in!
Here is a pertinent quote from 1Kings 8:27-30 from Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple God commanded him to build. “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven … cannot contain thee, how much less this house which I have built? Yet…listen to the supplication …of thy people when they pray…hear and forgive.”
One picture shows me celebrating my birthday at the Krystal’s Sexy Senior Citizens Club in the morning, with my birthday balloon and singing octopus card, and drinking iced tea out of my over-sized champagne glass. The other picture shows me at the Tilted Kilt Irish Pub in the evening. One picture shows the seashells. The other two garden pictures show all the stages of life that the seashell represents in plant form with different sized elephant ears, alligator cacti and four o’clock plants.