My new church, on Vancouver Island, has a gorgeous outdoor labyrinth, set in some old-growth trees, near a creek. You enter it by walking through a lovely garden, filled with lavender
It’s not too far from the local high school, so when I walk it first thing in the morning, there is a little background noise of busses arriving, the school bell ringing, announcements asking people to report to the office. At least one morning there was an exasperated announcement that the bell had rung, students, why are you all still in the hallway.
Still, it’s peaceful. It’s beautiful. It smells like cedar and pine trees. Often there are crows perched high on a tree, talking away to each other – maybe to me.
It’s where I do my morning prayers.
This morning I was stopped in my tacks by a spider web. This little (ok, rather large) spider had strung her web beside the labyrinth. She began on a branch about 6 feet in the air and strung an anchor line all the way to the ground. She strung another anchor line to a branch about 5 feet away from the first, and even a little higher off the ground. And there, at my eye level, she was working on her web. I was mesmerized by her circuit around the web, adding in the inside lines, round and round, just like the circuits of the labyrinth I was walking.
I was struck by the ambition of a spider who would build such a huge web – the anchor lines are over 6 feet long! The web itself was the size of a lunch plate. But with ambition there is great risk. It would only take a mammal walking by to bring her hard work down – a labyrinth walker who swung her arms. Something walking on the ground – a rabbit, marmot, fox – any animal walking through this garden spot on its way to the creek or the woods. One largish animal not paying attention and all the work would be brought down. But while it stands – it’s a fabulous spot to catch more flies than one largish spider could ever imagine feasting on!
Ambitious and risky. Hard work that can be brought down by one thoughtless action. Amazing beauty woven in silk, woven in circles. I tried to take a picture of it, but spider webs aren’t easy to photograph. I had to just stand there and experience the wonder, the amazement, the awe.
Kinda like faith, huh?
It’s ambitious. Takes risk to build and work to maintain. Can only be experienced – possibly the feeling can be shared, but you can’t take a selfie with it. Often exists where there are no witnesses – the spider wasn’t building her web to be admired by the likes of me, but because that’s what she is built to do. We are built to have faith, to participate with the Creator, but how many “saints”, how many “leaps of faith”, how many daring actions of faith and hope and trust happen every single day, with no-one to witness but the faithful and her Creator?
Can be brought down with thoughtless action of others.
But can be rebuilt over and over, if one dares to risk. If one dares to be ambitious. If one puts the work in.
It’s a truly amazing web. Probably one of many all over this little plot of land that I will never know about. And I give thanks that for a brief moment, it wove it’s way into my morning prayers.
Thanks be to God for webs, spiders and faith.