A surprising invitation into some new waters

Boat departing from Beaufort Waterfront

Big news. I have decided to retire as director of the Catholic Conference Center on June 30.  It’s been an incredible six years. Deo gratius! But the Lord, in many varied ways, has told me it’s time to go. 

I’ve shared my pending retirement with several people. Some congratulate me.  Some say they’ll miss me. Some wonder what’s going to happen to the center. The majority, however, ask, “What are you going to do?”  

To their disappointment, I say “I don’t know.” God affirmed through much prayer and spiritual direction that I needed to move on – now.  True to form, God has not revealed the where and the what. All I’ve heard are two of the most frustrating words to accept: Trust me. 

When I make a leap of faith like this, I think of the Israelites entering the promised land after wandering through the desert for forty years. (Josh 3:15-16) Carrying the ark of the covenant, they arrived at the Jordan River. The spring waters were raging. After being in the desert for so long, it’s almost certain they didn’t know how to swim. At the bank of the river, the Lord asked the priests to step into the raging waters. Trust me.  Looking at possible death by drowning, the priests carrying the ark still took the first step. The Lord then stopped the raging waters from flowing. The people entered the promised land.

My retirement is much like the end of a forty-year journey, filled with joys, disappointments, triumphs, and regrets. I thought I would thoughtfully and gradually glide into the ‘promised land’ with some plan, but the Lord wants me to take the first step and trust that I won’t drown in boredom or be whisked away into irrelevance. 

During the same time, God affirmed my work as a spiritual director, retreat master, blogger, and mission preacher. I’ll continue these endeavors through the conference center or some other way. (Contact me if you or your parish is interested). What else God has in mind is going to be a surprise.

If you’re stuck discerning how God might be calling you into some new waters, perhaps God’s waiting for you to heed the words, “Trust me”, and to take the first step.