J2A Greece Pilgrimage 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

"What is your labyrinth? If you don't name it, it will have power over you for your whole life."

"And God shall wipe away all the tears from your eyes."

As parents, friends, and extended family reading this blog I am sure you are all probably pretty jealous of our trip at this point. After reading yesterday's blog and hearing of our relaxing day at the beach and the pool you might also be thinking to yourself "Man, I need to go on one of the these pilgrimage things." Yes, yesterday was a time of relaxation, prayer and reflection where we could soak in our gorgeous surroundings. However, today was a new day where we challenged ourselves in our minds, body and spirit. This morning, as a part a part of our daily routine, we all scrambled in the lobby to listen to the inspiring words of Phil Cousineau who talked about how our lives are labyrinths. I say scrambled because we hit some of the minor bumps in the road that a pilgrim would hit. For example, our 8 o'clock wake up calls didn't go off and finally when we were all in the lobby the girls had to make sure they had skirts that were the appropriate length. There were numerous outfit changes, but Elizabeth holds the record of having to change in the lobby bathroom 3 times. When we were finally settled, we were handed three pieces of paper, one of them having a picture of of a labyrinth (which looked somewhat like a maze) with a famous creature in Greek mythology, the minotaur, located in the middle. Phil described how our lives are like labyrinths. The labyrinth represents the confusion and struggle in your life as you are striving towards your ultimate goal which is to break through the confusion, and tackle the minotaur who is trying to distract you from attaining this goal. As the title of this blog says "if you don't name [your labyrinth], it will have power over you for the rest of your life." Some examples Phil mentioned of what our labyrinths could be were "my struggle with my faith, insecurities, doubt, parents, friends, etc." When Phil asked the group to name some of our personal labyrinths Rob told the group that recently he has been nervous about trying to find a new job and about starting a new chapter of his life (and yes...that was a shoutout from Rob letting anyone know that if you hear of anyone looking for a pretty much awesome guy to work in your school administration system just give him a call). However, as difficult as it may seem to think of our lives as labyrinths Phil also left us with a message of hope by telling us about our "clew." A clew (which is where we get our english word clue) is the thing that is inspiring you to get through your labyrinths. It is the golden thread; what is holding you down/grounding you throughout your life. For many of us, we are finding our "clews" on this trip by learning more about our faiths and our relationships with God.

Phil's talk lead us perfectly into the days activities. As a group, we travelled by bus to to the the monastery of St. John where we learned about John's revelation. We were able to see the exact indentation in the rock where it is said that when John had his revelation he fell over and knocked his head on the rock. John (Herring) told us about how the Book of Revelation is sometimes taken as a dark and depressing message because of the different language. But, just like in our labyrinths, he said that the book is really a message of hope that God will always be here for us.

After the visit to the monastery, Rob surprised us with a boat ride to one of the most beautiful beaches on Patmos. Unfortunately the winds were to strong to dock at the beach, so instead we found another spot (a little rockier) but nevertheless we all jumped into the cold water and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.

Carolyn Harris


At 5:05 PM, Blogger scott ridgway said...

Your trip is a real inspiration to me. Seeing the holy land must be something else. If you enjoy different takes of christianity you might want to check out a my new book, free on line, called http://wakingupjesus.blogspot. Don't mean to be be fishing. Just liked the pictures and the thought of the labyrinth.

At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former pilgrim myself, I am very impressed by your travels thus far, and a tad jealous. Just remember to soak in all the surroundings and take any pictures of Rob if he falls asleep on the bus with his mouth wide open (those are always great to bring back and show the entire congregation). Keep having fun!! Much love, Helen Harris

At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Carey Fletcher said...

So many great photos on this post--whoever had the camera that day is a good art photographer! I have really enjoyed reading this blog every day (some excellent writers, too!)Please tell Alexander that everyone who hangs out at my house (including the feline members) miss him greatly and send lots of love!

At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Della Wells said...

Tell Rob shoutout heard. Your trip sounds wonderful, and Carolyn, I see you share your family's gift of humor and observation. Della Wells


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