All week I’ve wanted to write this article for you, to share a new image of journey and Spirit called Living Path. But before I could finish it, a dear friend gave me the gift of walking with her through grief. She called with her news, then allowed me to witness and support her with tea, kleenex, silence, weeping, and breakfast. Like her, my heart had also suffered great fear and separation/divorce, while discovering great courage and new life.

As we shared, I found my own seasons of loss and living coming full circle. When I cared for her, I embodied all those who cared for me. I also found myself profoundly grateful for the gifts of pain that opened me to empathy and the slow but sure miracles of healing and joy. I wrote in my journal after she left: “I am weeping again with the amazement of it– the tender, fierce mercy of having been split open to the core so that my scars show and even shine today. I feel such deep echoes of my own grief, again, yet even deeper resonance of the strength and wholeness gained.”

Little did I know that when I came back to writing this “Living Path” article, I would suddenly see this experience literally reflected in the fabric mandala … commissioned by the Franciscan Spiritual Center. I created this image to symbolize the ministry of the FSC, and yet it also honors the spiritual journey we walk each day.

The round canvas can represent the full-circle grace I felt while sharing grief and hope with my friend. I see many other parallels too. As I wrote in the Artist’s Statement about Living Path:

“An ancient Cretan/Celtic labyrinth, with the Star-Cross of Christ at its heart, honors many faith traditions and marks the path into the Life around us and within us. Along the way, we travel through molten creative fires, the darkness of mystery, the cooling waters of life, and the greening of creation. Saint Francis, the Mystic Saints and the Divine Feminine remind us to find Light in all things, to celebrate the wholeness and wisdom of the path, and to join the radiant energy waves of the joyful dance of living!”

Like the labyrinth, life’s journey keeps turning and returning. Grief gives way to joy, joy back to sorrow, sorrow to compassion, compassion to companionship. Love’s echoes radiate.

As you live fully in this sacred holiday season of darkness into light, waiting into birth, and receiving into giving– I invite you to celebrate the miracle of your own Living Path.

–Melanie

See Living Path art and details.  Art print available.

©Melanie Weidner 2008