“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska
My youngest sister, Yamila, is into puzzles. She has seasonal puzzles, strategic puzzles, and “just for fun” puzzles. She tells me they help her relax because she can start at any angle, and jump from one area to another area of the puzzle to figure out the big picture. One thing I have noticed about how she completes her puzzles is that she likes to work on them slowly. She doesn’t begin her puzzle adventure thinking she will finish it immediately. Sometimes she spends an hour, or she may put it on hold and complete it the next day, or the next week. Why? Because puzzles are meant to be completed — but at your own pace.
What I have learned about life is that it is more like a labyrinth than it is a puzzle. The Labyrinth Society describes a labyrinth as “a meandering path, often unicursal, with a singular path leading to a center. Labyrinths are an ancient archetype dating back 4,000 years or more, used symbolically, as a walking meditation, choreographed dance, or site of rituals and ceremony, among other things. Labyrinths are tools for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation, also thought to enhance right-brain activity. Labyrinths evoke metaphor, sacred geometry, spiritual pilgrimage, religious practice, mindfulness, environmental art, and community building.”
As we journey on to that place we need to get to, it is important we understand that contrary to a puzzle, life needs to be lived as an ongoing course that should not be stopped. It needs to be enjoyed for its valuable lessons, regardless of how complex and difficult. I see life like a school where learning does not come easily, and where we often find situations that require critical thinking, combativeness, consistency, adaptability, confidence, and strong conviction. Figuring out how to complete a labyrinth is not as important as what is learned in the process.
I want to encourage you to stop spending anymore of your precious and limited time just dreaming about a perfect future, while dismissing your very present. As beautiful as dreaming is, you cannot forget to live now! I pray you find joy in the lessons you have learned along the way as you ponder, interpret, and accept the labyrinth that is your life.