July 13, 2024 Donate

Saline

Saline’s Special Place of Solitude – the Labyrinth of EHM Senior Solutions (EHMSS)

By Sue Kelch

Although there has been a labyrinth in Saline for over 20 years, many may not be aware it exists.  By design, it is tucked away discreetly, allowing for privacy and time for reflection.  Labyrinths have found to have been in existence since ancient civilizations, and now in modern times the usage of labyrinths has become popular again as a means for spiritual connection.

Kelly Robertson, Marketing and Communications Director of EHMSS states “This labyrinth was built through a gift from the Carl F. Schrandt Endowment to St. Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital, and stands as a testament to the enduring importance of mental and spiritual wellness in healthcare and senior living. Its continued use under the ownership of EHMSS remain a beacon of tranquility and reflection in our community.”

Robertson is also thankful “to have community volunteers such as Gerard Breznau assist us in caretaking for the labyrinth. G, as he is known, has spent countless hours over the last year working to beautify and honor the heritage of the labyrinth on the EHMSS property.”

Saline resident Ike Furbush recalls when he helped build the labyrinth in the summer of 2002.  His employer, KC Runciman Landscaping, was commissioned to do the work.  “We had a sketch to work from and laid it from there.”

The process included clearing the area, putting a stake in the middle, and creating pathways that were 18” apart, to ensure that a slow pace is maintained.  Then a sand base was put down and the stones were set.  The pathways are filled with pea gravel, that was carried by hand in large buckets.  Even the large stones at the entryway path to the labyrinth were brought in.

Photo by Sue Kelch

Since that time Furbush has developed Parkinson’s Disease, and his wife and caretaker Martha Grossman have both used the labyrinth as a form of prayer.  Says Grossman, “I try to empty my mind and open my heart as I begin.  I coincide my breathing and strive to stay in the moment.  I sometimes envision what I feel in my body.  If I am feeling tense, I try to envision tightly coiled cords unraveling.  If I want to enhance my joy or happiness – I envision a warm, soft, glowing light oozing through my body and melting throughout me like honey.”

Nancy Rhodes, a certified labyrinth instructor/leader, and former resident of Saline for over 19 years defines the labyrinth as “a form of walking meditation.  As you enter the labyrinth, it is a time of reflection.  As you get to the center, it is a time of releasing whatever you need to let go of.  As you walk back out the same path, it is a time of receiving new thoughts, insights, and goals.”

Rhodes received her certification as labyrinth instructor/leader in 2007.  It was her “dream to bring the labyrinth and walk to the Saline population” and wanted to promote it for grief work.

Rhodes commented about the certification process, which includes taking a class about the history of the labyrinth, learning how to space people for a walk, and how to guide a walk.  The coursework also includes discussion on the various types of labyrinths.

If you are interested in trying the labyrinth walk, please follow these etiquette tips:

-Do not photograph someone walking; this is an invasion of their privacy and meditation; although you may stage pictures of people walking.

-You may enter the labyrinth if someone else is walking, just give them space.  If you pass someone walking the path out, just step to one side and let them go.

In addition, Robertson states, “EHMSS welcomes the community to share in the sanctity found at the labyrinth. We do ask that you visit during the hours of dawn to dusk, that you leave no trace, and that you take nothing but pictures and memories with you.”

The EHMSS Labyrinth will feature a Solstice Celebration Labyrinth Walk with Live Music – Solstice Day Saturday June 22, 2024, 1:00

For more information on the Saline Labyrinth at EHMSS contact Kelly Robertson at 734.429.1628 or robertsonk@ehmss.org.  The labyrinth is located at:

EHMSS, 400 West Russell Street, Saline, MI  48176

For more information on labyrinth locations, go to the worldwide locator at https://labyrinthlocator.com.

Photos by Sue Kelch