Just four months after my Cursillo experience, I found myself staring in wonder at a double rainbow in the Moldovan countryside, a world away from where I expected to be.
Knee-deep in the dewy grass of a cow field, I could see that sign for what it was: a reminder of God’s promises for my life, promises I deliberately avoided for far too long.
As a not-yet-confirmed Episcopalian I was fully unfamiliar with Cursillo when it was introduced to me. Truthfully, I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce it. But in the spirit of my family’s word of the year - “go” - and after a lot of prayer, I agreed to give it a try.
I had no expectations for the weekend, but what I did have was a glimmer of hope for something I couldn’t name. By the Fourth Day, I could name it and it was simple: I wanted desperately to find a true faith and a community to support me as I grew into it.
Opening yourself up to a room full of strangers isn’t an easy thing. But putting yourself out there and, in turn, supporting others, is how you create community and especially how you create a community in Christ.
Isaiah 43:18-19 is a passage that has landed on my desk over and over again this summer: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
I’ve never considered my life a wasteland, but it has all too often felt like the wilderness.
It seems too easy to want to control every aspect of your life, to try to find a way to stabilize something so that a balance feels more achievable and peace feels attainable.
You know what’s easier than all of that? Faith in God’s promises for your life.
That’s what Cursillo taught me. And when I leaned into it, into this community of faith built by the pilgrims and staff and by our diocese, I began to change.
When I walked into Camp Beckwith last March, I had an idea that my life was on the brink of changing. Three weeks after I walked away, I left a good job with no solid idea of what I was going to do next except a very serious goal of being still enough to listen to what God was calling me to do.
Each day that passed I got confirmation that stepping away and letting God take control and lead me was the right thing to do.
When I began to worry about how I would pay the mortgage when I was done being still, I got confirmation through my 4-year-old’s coloring sheet that reminded me “God will meet my needs.”
When I began to realize that starting my own business was the best option but I quite couldn’t figure out how to make it all work, I got confirmation through a funny headband that one my girls had that told me “The Lord will provide.”
And he has. I am doing work now that refreshes me and gives me ample opportunities to share my faith and communicate it to a broader audience.
God provided a way through the wilderness. And he did it by shoving me out of my comfort zone into one new thing after another.
This July that led me to Ukraine and Moldova with a client to do hands-on work telling the stories and capturing images of the many orphans in those poverty-stricken countries. Seeing hundreds of children who have never known love or support has broken my heart over and over again for the injustices of this world, and it has driven home yet another lesson I learned during that fateful March weekend.
This community we are building isn’t confined to a parish or a diocese or even our country. The lessons in faith have given me an ability to see that every act of faith, every gesture of kindness is creating a larger community. Be it with parishioners in the pew next to you or orphans in an impoverished country - our community knows no bounds, kind of like God’s love and his promises for our life.
So what can God do in your life in three days?
You may not end up catching rainbows in a cow pasture in Eastern Europe, but I’m certain you will end up seeing the colors of faith like you’ve never seen them before.