If you don’t believe Paul when he talks about a “new creation” in this Sunday’s readings, you can take it from me: it’s possible.
When I try to think abstractly about identity I wonder if there is such a thing, because the person I once was seems so far away from the person I am. God willing I will feel that way decades from now about who I am now.
Would that I had a dramatic conversation to share with you, not just so I’d have a good story but because it would have been so much easier than the long, slow process of work actually was.
I didn’t turn a corner one day, trip over Christ and mature overnight. Instead I spotted him down a long corridor and knew that my destiny was waiting at the end of that hall. As soon as I started moving he rushed to me, like the Prodigal Father. Since then I’ve kept walking, not toward him, but with him toward myself.
Perhaps the Prodigal son felt as I often have, that even though I was being embraced there was a chasm between me and the One showering me in abundant love. All I could do was pray that my heart could move deeper into that which surrounded me.
The way for me to do that has been to emulate the Father who rushes to his son, who loves even when it’s stupid, who is lavish with affection. There may be those out there who are good at not-doing, but I’m afraid my gift is in the doing, so what I lack in restraint I make up in abundance, praying that God will show me the mercy promised as I stumble, bit by bit, to the transforming relationship that makes me always new.