The Maze of Life
October 2, 2013
Several years ago, my lyric writing was in its infancy and I discovered a wonderful website designed and managed by a Nashville songwriter. In that tiny arena of writers we found lasting friendships and folks we could lean on in hard times of our own lives in addition to honing our craft and sharing our love for the magic of words on paper. In 2004, I "met" Nathan, the son of an English teacher, who had an amazing eye for metaphors, similes and all those other writing techniques which I studied but never "warmed up to" in my own efforts. I began sending lyrics to Nathan who would dissect them to infinity and return them to me often for much needed repair. Though frustrating me to the ends of the earth, Nathan was kind spoken and patient and I valued all I seemed to be learning at "warp" speed. One day Nathan asked me if I had ever considered putting down my Bluegrass lyrics and trying to work with Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) lyrics. As I often tell people, if there's a challenge, the "Irish in me" kicks in and I go full tilt into trying to prove I can do it. He came to me with the thought that while we see barriers in our lives, God who knows and sees all, sees the corners and sees where we are headed. We worked on and created a lyric entitled, "The Maze". While it never made its way to completion as a song we both were satisfied completely with, it did indeed stir up images and phrases that have made a difference in my own life since that time.
How many times have we heard someone or ourselves use the phrase, "I've hit a brick wall." Or maybe they say, "I don't see any way out of this!" At the point we reach that position in our lives, frustration and worry and a feeling of loss step in and our knees seem to buckle under the weight. We turn to exasperation and words of defeat.
The lyrics and working with Nathan taught me that we see things in a one dimensional or two dimensional approach. If you imagine, for a moment, a goal you have to complete a project at home or at work. You run into problems with a budget that won't support the items you need, or staff members who "don't get it" or are "too busy" to be part of the work or you experience a "set back" with an illness. So many things can slow our progress or give us feelings of defeat and "running into a wall". Compare those feelings to the ones you experience in a maze. It is fall now and many communities are designing mazes in the corn for kids and adults to enjoy. Years back there was a news report of one so difficult that two teenagers had gotten lost in the maze and they could not locate them. Calling to them or sending others out to find them seem to bring no results but further worries and frustration. Finally someone called the Sheriff's dept who did not have a helicopter unit but who thought to call a nearby farmer with a crop dusting plane. The farmer/pilot was able to fly over the maze and give directions to the quadrant where they were standing while a copilot shone a bright light on the wall section where they stood. The boys were rescued with no harm done before midnight.
How often have we felt like we were facing a wall or had our back against a wall and our only thought was disappointment and failure and a need to quit. In those moments we feel like we are at the end of a road when in fact, we only are facing a challenge. Challenges demand a few things of us. They ask for time to think. We often want to go into a faster push to get past the walls. We don't seem to feel comfortable around them and want to run when in fact, we should accept the situation and actually pause to think. What we fail to realize is that, like in a maze, where our view is only one or two dimensional and much like tunnel vision, we fail to see our options as challenges come along. The step we need to approach to our lives is this. We need to call for help from God and we need to look upward. Instead our shoulders droop and our heads look downward in defeat. God has an amazing perspective of our lives that we do not have. His view is from above our maze of life. He sees every challenge we will face and every wall that will slow us down and affect our positive minds. I have heard my dad say, "just because you have a problem does not mean you have to see the negative side of it. For every challenge there are negatives and positives. Find the positives and use your brain to find a way." When we reach the wall, as the teenage boys did in the maze, we need to slow down or even stop. We need to find patience while we think and plan. We need to look up to God for His perspective and view and wait for him to place those in our paths who can shine a light on what we are facing in order that we can find our way out.
It seems so simple and what I am learning in this walk of faith is that often what we make so difficult in our lives is quite simple to tackle if we allow God and time to work with us and for us. Instead we often choose defeat and the old "why me, Lord?" It is not about God "picking on us" at all. It is truly the fact that we were blessed with the gift of life when we were born and our lives are not brightly lit, straight and narrow pathways. No, not all! Our paths change in texture and challenges and they weave through time like in a maze. We can do just fine when the path is straight but when it turns and we hit a wall, we "throw up our hands in defeat" when God is right there with us "in every step of the way". We know that!
When life gives us a wall, all we need to do is slow down, rest, think and ask God to guide us around the wall and to send others to light our way. Onward we go in this amazing maze of life.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for not only being in our lives walking with us but above our lives aware of what challenges lie in our future. Thank you Lord for gifts of friends, like Nathan, who helped turn my failing efforts into a positive path that continues to bless me each day.
In Jesus' Name,
Here is our collaboration on "From the Maze to the Amazing". I hope it is a blessing to your life in some small way. Thank you, Nathan, for being a light that opened up so many positive choices in my life and renewed my faith and spirit.
"From the Maze to the Amazing"
All my life,
I've heard that grace was so amazing
But how does that help me here today?
All mixed up,
in this rat race going crazy
The walls of life close in and block my way,
One more disappointment after another
One more bad decision lying right around the corner
All I want is a choice that's worth the making
All I need is a chance that's worth the taking
Lord lift me up above so I can see
That grace is all I need to carry me
From the maze to the amazing
All I see
Are walls of guilt and failure
Some windows of forgiveness would ease the way
But grace so free
Keeps my world together
And opens doors I walk through every day
Falling on my knees at another dead end
I look up toward the sky, to see His guiding hand
If I could fly up in the air
I could see quite easily
The way from here to there
But why when He's watching over me
Would I fail to see His hand
Holding everything I need
And now there's so much more to grace
Though my heart is holding out
There's mercy on His face
And wow, the view is so breathtaking
I can't help but soar
And know His grace can take me
From my maze, to the amazing...