What Is A Labyrinth? Local Rehab Facility Constructs Ancient Structure For Prayer, Meditation
Hidden Facility, "The Bridge To Recovery," Finds New Ways To Help Troubled Individuals
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
This article features two things most Edmonson Countians know little or nothing about: "The Bridge To Recovery," which is a top-notch rehabilitation facility in the county, and a newly-constructed labyrinth, featured on their 113-acre property.
The private rehab facility, located in the southern part of the Wingfield community, is its own little paradise with beautiful landscapes, a peaceful creek, and acres of gorgeous views. Local resident Anthony Cobb, who is head of maintenance at the facility, shared with the Edmonson Voice details of their newest addition: their very own labyrinth.
While the definition of a labyrinth is a "complicated irregular network of passages or paths in which it is difficult to find one's way; a maze," the one featured at the The Bridge is actually not complicated at all. A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness that combines a maze-like circle into a purposeful pathway. The Labyrinth represents a journey to one's own center and then back again out into the world.
"Most people might think it's silly or that it's some sort of magic or something, but that's not what it is at all," said Cobb. "It's a spiritual experience that can help clear one's heart and mind. In my case, I would use it for prayer to God, but others use it in different ways. Whomever you pray to or whatever helps you to meditate, that's what this is used for."
Cobb led a brief "tour" of sorts to explain the proper usage for the structure, which was quite impressive, having a 60ft radius. The entire symbol featured an approximate 50ft sidewalk-type path which led to the circle that was filled with an intricate pathway lined with large brick-sized stones on top of a bed of decorative river gravel.
"One would step onto the path and look for a rock that speaks to you," he said. "Just pick one that you feel represents something you want to clear from your life. That could be anything: addiction, depression, or any sort of trouble or burden, whether small or large. Then you carry that rock while you pray or meditate about that burden as you walk the pathway. There's only one way in to the center and one way out. Once you have prayed or meditated that trouble away, you then leave the rock and exit the labyrinth without it, which represents leaving your burden or troubles."
Cobb said the staff had help with the design and layout from a Native American man from Mississippi, who was also a licensed therapist. A local heavy equipment operator leveled the ground used for the labyrinth and staff workers provided the labor to place the rocks.
He also described the nature of the facility, a privately-owned, non-profit organization that is run by licensed therapists of all sorts. The Bridge treats adults of all ages for anything from drug and alcohol addiction to depression, anxiety, abuse victims, or other trauma.
Treatment times can be anywhere from a few days to up to three months. Once a patient checks in, they are separated from the rest of the world, which means no cell phones, television, internet, or vehicles. Men stay in one set of cabins and women stay in another part. The Bridge has a limit of up to 26 patients at a time. Insurance does not cover the therapy but is privately funded.
Cobb also described how the natural beauty in and around the facility is therapy in its own rights.
"Just listen," he said.
We heard nothing but the sound of the creek, the wind, and a few birds chirping in the distance. He described a group of evergreens in one part of the facility where fog sometimes gathers around at sunrise.
"When the sun comes over that ridge and those sunbeams shine through those trees, it's almost just like you can see God's hand right there. God is all over this place," he said as the hair on my arm stood up.
The Bridge To Recovery is not a new addition to Edmonson County. Unbeknownst to most, it was first built over 40 years ago by a single family that wanted to create a quiet place where people with problems could escape the rest of a cruel world and find therapy and healing. Cobb invited me to take a walk for my own benefit as we shook hands and he left me alone. It took about 10 minutes for me to enter, find my stone, take the walk inside the labyrinth, and thankfully, leave my stone inside.
I left a little lighter than I was when I arrived just about an hour before and with a new appreciation for special people like Cobb and the others at the facility that have a passion for helping others. As I drove away, I reflected on the newfound respect I'd gathered for this extraordinary place as I read the sign at the facility's exit: "Go With God."
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