Friday, July 6, 2012


Our trip last week to Sinsinawa Mound Center, Sinsinawa, WI, was an after thought.  We had taken a day trip to Dubuque, IA and we weren’t ready for our travels to end.  We were close to Sinsinawa so we decided to take the short detour. 
We entered a hilly countryside, which alternated woodsy glens with slopes finely dressed in neat fields of corn and wheat.  We searched for the Sinsinawa Mound Center tucked away in this lush area of Southwestern Wisconsin.  Eight years ago, soon after Evan was born, a friend had sent us a prayer remembrance from the Sinsinawa Sisters. For eight years I had wondered about the center and I had hoped to visit it one day. I wanted to see the sacred place that had held Evan in their prayers.

The grounds and main center building are open to the public during visiting hours.  We entered the main building willing to receive whatever awaited us inside. Silently we moved into the still, brightly shining chapel.  A calm, yet almost buzzing energy, surrounded us.  Tentatively we each found our own place to sit and pray.  Evan sat next to each of us, one at a time, moving quietly from pew to pew. 

We moved on to tour other chapels, museums, and art displays.  In each new space we felt a powerful sense of calm centeredness and awareness that was truly unique.

As we left the main building, Evan picked up a purple pamphlet  (probably because he knows purple is my favorite color) and waved it at us.  We gathered around as he showed his treasure describing something called the LABYRINTH.  The LABYRINTH is one of the inspiration tools that can be found at Sinsinawa Mound Center.  Fortunately for us Evan discovered it.  We read the pamphlet together:

“In walking the Labyrinth, it is possible to discern three basic stages of the walk:

Shedding – letting go, releasing cares and concerns which distract us from our Source.

Illumination – receiving insight in the center, we ask for clarity about our lives and holy energy for the journey.

Union – journeying out from the center, we take the energy; the gift we found – empowered to act.

It is a spiritual tool and an effective metaphor for life’s journey for believers in all traditions.  Any person who chooses with intention to walk the path is welcome to do so.”

We eagerly set out to find the LABYRINTH.  We expected to see an enormous hedge lined maze filled with intrigue.  We found instead an open maze, formed simply with bricks.

The LABYRINTH intrigued each of us.  It beckoned us to walk forward and discover something inside of ourselves that we hadn’t discovered before. 

We walked in a single file, the four of us.  My older brother led the way some distance ahead.  Evan followed me right on my heels.  My mother came in last, choosing to cross over to a different path.  The experience of walking the long winding maze was surprisingly transforming.  The powerful metaphor of life’s journey had an affect on all of us.  I was struck by how the four of us walked this path together, yet in our own space reflecting our own life’s journey.  We would walk past one another briefly as we made our way to the center and eventually back out;  individual journeys connected through brief encounters.

Evan of course brought his own spark to the journey.  He quickly discovered that he could skip over to different lanes, sometimes leading and sometime following.  As is his nature, he found a way to have more of an interactive experience than a solitary one, even in the silence we had agreed to maintain. 

I can still feel the energy of the center a week after visiting it.  I find myself imagining that I am in one of the settings we entered, and I can feel the energy again.  This contemplative experience renewed my energy to go forth in my life with purpose and joy.  I find myself longing to visit this spiritual center again.  It is on the top of my destinations list now, no longer a detour.


Peter said...

What a beautiful description of our day. As Evan's uncle, spending a day with Evan as i did at Sinsinawa is a very precious gift. One learns so much from Evan. Evan is extremely interactive and wants nothing more than to know people and to enjoy each others presence. Never intrusive but always right there to engage, I am struck with his deep knowing of people beyond the conventional ways. He is alert and cognizant of others that is quite wondrous and puts everyone at ease. I will always remember this special day.

Margaret Meder said...

Thank you for your comment Peter! I will always remember this special day too.