John and I went on a retreat this weekend with the diaconate community. The retreat leader was one of my favorite people in the world, our Bishop Matthew Clark. The theme was “Transitions.” It was a good theme, allowing us to think about God’s work in our lives and our openness to God’s call for each of us as we approach transitions. Bishop Clark’s talks were insightful and honest and filled with stories of his own journey. It was wonderful to spend the weekend with our deacon community. Each person I spoke with was an inspiration to me and offered me something of him or herself.
I really needed a retreat. I needed a little time to step away from the busyness and stress of daily life and take time to just sit and be quiet. I needed quality time with John. During his first talk, Bishop Clark advised us to think about, and pray for, the thing we most wanted during the weekend. I decided that the thing I would ask for was clarity. So much in my life seems unclear right now and I hoped that this might change over the course of the weekend. I don’t know whether I gained a lot of clarity, but I certainly feel more peaceful now than I did when I arrived at the retreat house on Friday evening.
At one point, the Bishop mentioned some beautiful lines from the First Letter of John that I thought I would share.
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are… Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1 John 3:1-2
There is so much hope and promise in those verses. It really responds to my request for clarity. We are God’s beloved children now. I can be happy and rest in that knowledge. I can be satisfied with living in this moment. What we shall be has not yet been revealed. But, when it is revealed we shall be like God, for we shall see God as God is. Clarity may not be granted immediately. But the promise is there. What we shall be will be revealed and we shall see God and become like God. And that is really my longing…to be more Christlike, more holy, to live my life in a more perfect way.
I want to be the best version of myself. I long to be that version already. Sadly, I have many shortcomings. I am not yet there. But, in the meantime, I am still a child of God. Who I am is good enough. I can rest here until God reveals more to me, and then I can work on being more holy. God will grant me the grace and I want to cooperate with that grace. It is as if I am in the middle of a dance with God, learning the steps as they are revealed to me. Even when I am clumsy, God enjoys the dance and loves me, his beloved child, as the dancer. See what love the Father has bestowed on us.
A good retreat. A good weekend. A good opportunity for a fresh beginning.