This Holy Week, our church set up a Prayer Labyrinth in our Fellowship Hall-- a fantastic opportunity for individuals to go through a Christ-centered journey and prayer experience. There are several stations where you look inward-- at the distractions of your life, at the hurts you're holding on to, creating holy space, and a station for communion. There are stations where you look outward-- praying for God's creation, praying for others, etc. Really very cool. And very unlike anything VUMC has done before.
Well, tonight was my night to "man" the labyrinth. What that means is greeting people as they enter the fellowship hall, inviting them to relax and get into an attitude of prayer and inner contemplation, and explaining to them how the labyrinth works. The labyrinth is guided by audio tracks-- we have iPods and handheld CD players available. Each person enters the labyrinth at least 5 minutes after the previous person has entered so there is plenty of space between persons and plenty of time for folks to walk through each station without feeling rushed. It takes about an hour to get all the way through the labyrinth.
That's the set up. Tonight at 7:00 p.m., the Soul Survivors group came to the labyrinth following their group dinner. The Soul Survivors group is our widowed womens group. So you can probably imagine the average age of these lovely ladies. They are probably all in their 80s, and precious as can be.
This is the funny part. I had the honor of giving these ladies a crash-course in using an iPod. It was hilarious. Hysterical, actually. The ones that didn't use iPods used CD players. And that was an interesting game in and of itself. "What do I do if I need to stop? What happens if I need to go back? What do I do if I need to turn the volume up? Do I need to wear my hearing aids at the same time? You mean, these little white things go IN your ears, and I'll hear the sound?? Oh, my granddaughter would be so proud! I'm using an iPod!"
It was a sweet moment. Some of them figured it out. Some of them didn't. One woman came out of the labyrinth after about 15 minutes and said, "Well, I don't know how this thing works. It just quit playing so I figured it was done. I did make it around to all the stations, though. What a WONDERFUL experience!"
So maybe they didn't "get" the technology, but I REALLY am so impressed with them for trying! And they weren't afraid to try. And they all had terrific, meaningful experiences. What a great day.