Promise is a very powerful word. It is a word that can mean everything in the world, but to many, it can mean very little. I am attending our annual vestry retreat weekend at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, Virginia. It is the first night, so one would imagine little being accomplished. This is not so. Our first evening session has ended, and I am enjoying the peace of quiet of my room, meditating; thinking of how God continues to play a part in my life. These first few hours were decidedly uplifting. After our first session, I can feel how close this group has already grown. From the leadership of Father Joe and Senior Warden Ethyl, we have come together spiritually in a way that is unusual, at best. In our world of mistrust, one would think that it would take several meetings to form close spiritual bonds we have already.
God promises that She will always be within me, regardless of how imperiled I may be. This is a very comfortable thought. This means that no matter how much pain I am in, no matter how depressed I become because I cannot bounce back as I did 50 years ago, I am not suffering alone. God has taken the most painful part of my worries and relieved me of the nagging pain and discomfort. I digress to this because when I awakened this morning, I was very reluctant to join the retreat. I had a very difficult night with very little sleep . . . my second in two nights. However, being driven by emotions, duties, and my background, I am unable to succumb willingly to failure. And, not showing up would be failure. In a word, I was prepared to spend a weekend in extreme discomfort, ruing my decision to spend three days, not in my own home or bed.
I don’t know what tonight will bring, but the fact that the group felt God’s presence with us throughout this first evening has completely eradicated my hesitant foreshadowing. I never ceased to be amazed how God’s presence in my life can be so transformative. Tonight, I experienced this transformation, feeling that God was in the room with us as we spoke of serious things, serious plans, and spiritual renewal. He was also in the room as we lovingly joked and shared embarrassing moments, or shared the fact that only one of us has a tattoo. God loves tattoos.
It is now 4:30 AM, I stopped writing this last evening because I could not concentrate. I finally turned out lights at midnight, and I awoke at 3:30 AM . . . fully refreshed. When I first got into bed, my feeling was one of trepidation; strange beds and bad backs do not comfort make. I propped my self up, and meditated, expelling all issues of the day from my cognition. Zonk!!! The next thing I was aware of was awakening at 3:30 . . . again, fully refreshed.
I am so blessed to be where I am. I am comforted by God wherever and whenever I allow him to enter my being (although I know He is always within me). I am also strengthened, knowing His comfort and knowing that his angel on earth, my wonderful Linda, is with me forever and forevermore.
Isaiah writes: “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
Yes, I am joyfully blessed.