18 years ago, I found myself lost in a corn maze. I had been making the same steps over and over around what seemed like the same twists and turns, and I had turned into a puddle of tears. I was 8 months pregnant and was getting panicked because I really needed a restroom (again). I had lost all sense of direction and was unable to see the path that would lead me out quickly and it just about undid me. I think about that ill-advised corn maze trip every fall and it usually makes me laugh. No super pregnant woman should be out of sight of a restroom. No super pregnant woman needs to be on a mystery tour other than the one she is already on- about how and when this little person in her is going to come out. But this year, as I see the dried corn stalks standing in the fields and imagine the labyrinthine paths that could be created, I feel like I did 18 years ago – a little teary, a little panicky, unable to see the path that will lead me out quickly.
Corn mazes force your attention to narrow in. You don’t have a bird’s eye view, and you don’t have the long view. You only have the steps just in front of you. You trust that the creator of the maze did, in fact, make a way out for you that didn’t involve calling for help on a walkie talkie, but at some point in the twists and turns your mind starts to wonder. You wonder when (or if) it will end and you can go back to the picturesque pumpkin patch or apple orchard – anywhere that doesn’t involve a maze.
Life in the midst of a pandemic and volatile election cycle with so much at stake feels to me like being in that corn maze. We can’t see more than the next few steps in front of us, the end isn’t clear, and we don’t know how long it will take to get out. In reality, we never really know these things, we just usually have more of a sense of being in control. But what if we are only called to the next few steps in front of us?
What if, all along, we are only called to taking steps of grace and love at each twist and turn in the path? What if it is the twists and the turns that are where we are meant to focus our attention and not on the end of the path? These are tender days, friends, it’s ok to feel a little teary, a little panicky. May we remind each other to take a deep breath and just take the next step, knowing that the one who created us holds us through each twist and turn.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Loving God, You are always ready to hear our cries. Teach us to rely day and night on your care. Inspire us to seek your enduring justice for all this world. Enfold us in your arms of mercy, and teach us to love one another, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend. Amen.