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The labyrinth at Cook Children’s looks like a double C. The path is wide enough to accommodate strollers, wagons and IV poles. A water fountain is in the center and seating is available along the way. Walking a labyrinth can serve varied purposes. It has been called both “sacred pacing” and “a playground for the spirit.” The most common use of a labyrinth is as a form of prayerful movement.
Almost every tradition respects some form of spiritual walk or journey. The oldest known labyrinths are 3,500 years old. The practice of labyrinth walking has been rediscovered in the last 25 years. The labyrinth is simply a tool—it is not owned by any particular custom and may be practiced by all.
The labyrinth is located in the Prayer Garden on the front lawn of Cook Children’s Medical Center, south of the main medical center. You may enter the labyrinth on the side closest to Terrell Street (the south side of the labyrinth).
A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze has many paths and possibilities for wrong turns and getting lost. A maze is designed to confuse. A labyrinth is a single path with no possibility of making a wrong turn or getting lost. If you follow the path, you will reach the center.
The labyrinth was donated by the Woman’s Board at Cook Children’s Medical Center for the benefit of our patients, families, staff and volunteers. It is open to all who come to pray for our children, our promise and our community. Your congregation, family or service organization is welcome to walk the labyrinth in support of Cook Children’s.
People may silently name their troubles on the way in and their blessings on the way out. Some begin their walk contemplating one possible decision and end their walk contemplating an alternative. Some ask for forgiveness on the journey inward and offer commitment on the journey outward. Some dance or whirl—thanking God for one joy on the way in and another joy on the way out. Some consider the past, then the future. Some simply walk, allowing the Spirit to move within them—with no agenda. Some pace the path, completely unaware of its name or purpose. Children may just skip or hop, living in the moment. There is no single right way.
Walking a labyrinth can often calm people in the midst of crisis; it can help us see life as a journey with a goal. Some bereaved persons report finding comfort and peace in simply walking a labyrinth. Those who are struggling with a way to offer unused gifts may find that such an activity awakens the imagination. The experience is different for each person, because each one brings his or her hopes, fears, concerns and celebrations to that moment in time.
Our labyrinth is outdoors, has all-weather surfacing and is almost always accessible. Walking alone, at night, in extreme heat or cold, when you feel faint or unstable or during an impending storm can pose safety hazards that we urge you to avoid. You are responsible for exercising good judgment and for supervising your children. Please practice safe habits so that walking the labyrinth may be an experience of peace and wholeness for you.
No fee is charged. Those who choose to make a contribution to support the promise of Cook Children’s are directed to Cook Children’s Health Foundation, 682-885-4105, www.cookchildrens.org.
The Prayer Garden is a gift of love from the Woman’s Board at Cook Children’s Medical Center in honor of Rev. Ann Miller, Ph.D. and the Pastoral Care department. It is intended for patients, families, staff and the community.
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