Saturday, June 5, 2010
Indiana's got a secret: It doesn't totally blow.
I guess I wouldn't have known before. See, I'm a stand-up comedian. But even though I travel all over the country, I rarely actually see anything. That's because I am a lazy, lazy bum. All I do all day is sleep and look up stuff online and eventually get onstage. As pathetic as it seems, I usually only see my hotel room and the comedy club. And I never cared. In most places, I assumed that there was nothing in the vicinity that was of any beauty. Are you kidding me? By the McDonald's? Screw it. Why should I roam? All I'm going to miss is a Best Buy. I never looked for the secret treasures that any "average" neighborhood in the country could hide. Secrets? In Indiana? Young Larry Bird's gotta be full of it.
Luckily, thanks in part to this labyrinth project I've been fiddling with, these close-minded ideas of mine have begun to change. Already, in just a handful of times, I've seen landscapes and architecture of such magnificent beauty that I'm kicking myself for all the wasted years. And it's always been right here. It's in Indiana and Iowa and Estonia and...anywhere!
Which leads me to The Valparaiso University Chapel of the Resurrection's labyrinth. Let me explain what I do as quickly as I can. I travel to a town (usually for comedy). I go to labyrinthlocator.com and find a labyrinth that is within 25 miles of where I'm staying. I go to it. I write about it. So here we go!
Forgiveness factor: High. As you've probably figured out - I have a thing against Indiana. Look, I grew up in Iowa so I realize I don't have the right to talk smack about states. I get it. But bad things always happen to me in Indiana. Someone smashed my car window out here for no reason and I've been called a homo more than I'd like to admit. People with peach-fuzz mustaches have generally gotten very aggressively in my face in Indiana and I don't know why. What the Valparaiso Resurrection church and labyrinth made me realize is that it had more to do with my tour itinerary than the state itself. Maybe I've been going to the crap Indiana towns? Because clearly, especially in a college town like Valparaiso, intelligent people exist. What a relief! I mean, I'm not particularly cultured myself. But as of now, no longer will I call all Indiana residents "Those John Cougar Mellancamp lovin' mother$#@&ers." I feel like re-enacting that scene from Good Will Hunting where they hug. I'm Robin Williams and Indiana is Matt Damon. "It's not your fault, Indiana. It's not your fault."
Distraction factor: Through the roof. Literally. So the whole point of going to a labyrinth is to walk through it slowly and meditatively while you contemplate your spiritual journey through life. Do you have any idea how hard that is to do when the most beautiful church you've ever seen is directly next to it? It's like the tower of Sauron if he weren't a jerk. (Nerds?)
Mild revelation factor: Once again - High! I think I'm starting to figure these labyrinths out. It's not about the labyrinth itself; it's where it takes you. Because if I hadn't found it online, I would never have ended up at this gorgeous chapel. I'm not going to lie - I coasted through this labyrinth. I just couldn't take my eyes off of the church the whole time. I had to get inside and take a look, which is exactly what I did. There were two weddings going on that day and I just happened to arrive in the down-time between the two. Other than a few people cleaning up, I was essentially alone in the most breath-taking building I've ever been inside of.
So that's it. No more writing. I dedicate the rest of this blog to the sloppy, amateur pictures I took inside and hope that it shows even 1% of the beauty that the place actually has. Thanks Indiana.
(Click on pics to get a larger version.)
This is from the January of 2010. I had it embedded, but the whole screen wouldn't fit on my blog. So click here to watch it!