Walking the Labyrinth in the Rain
by George Wolfe
“He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45).
I always thought the rain was a bad thing, that both righteous and unrighteous people were subjected to its misfortune. Until a friend of mine named Brother Elias, who is a Trappist monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Georgia, revealed to me that the rain could also be a blessing. God blesses both the righteous and the unrighteous if we can only be receptive to the potential goodness that can “rain” down upon us.
While in the middle of walking the cathedral labyrinth in New Harmony, Indiana, it started raining, but I was too far along to abandon my allegorical journey. There’s a lesson, I thought, that the universe is trying to teach me. So I embraced the rain as a new friend, absorbing every drop as she christened me from head to toe.
We are always told to stay on the straight and narrow, but life for me has been more like the meandering path of a labyrinth. I started as a university professor teaching classical and jazz saxophone, first in Virginia, then in Indiana at Ball State University. The versatility of my instrument led me to become interested in classical Indian music, which led to me making friends with some musicians from India, which led to a grant from the Eli Lilly Endowment and the opportunity to travel to India to study Hindustani music in New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata (formerly called Calcutta).
My time spent in India exposed me to Indian philosophy and the nonviolent teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, which led to my service on the advisory board of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Ball State University, which led to me being named Director of Peace Studies. While serving for four years as Director of the Peace Center at Ball State, I became the target of conservative political commentator David Horowitz who listed me as one of the “101 most dangerous academic in America” because I was teaching a class in the history and philosophy of nonviolence. This resulted in many guest lecture opportunities and in the publication of two books, the first on spiritually and nonviolence, the second on modern physics and spirituality.
When I started my career in the late 1970’s, I never dreamed this is where I’d wind up. But somehow, I made it to the center of the labyrinth of life, or rather, what I currently think of as the center. In all likelihood, this is just a temporary stop along the way. At least I hope that is the case as I don’t want to stop growing.
I encourage everyone now to write down their own “labyrinth of life.” Think deeply about all your past expectations, and the twists and turns in your life with all the lessons they teach. Keep walking, even in the rain. Like the quantum field, you’ll find God to be full of possibilities and surprises.
George Wolfe is Professor Emeritus at Ball State University and former Director and Coordinator of Outreach Programs for the Ball State University Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. He is also an ordained interfaith minister, chairs the Muncie Interfaith Fellowship, is a trained mediator, and is the author of Meditations on Mystery: Science, Paradox and Contemplative Spirituality.