I am seeing things here that I didn't see last time. Last time was three years ago and I was concerned mostly with trying to get my bearings, trying to deal with finding my way around and do things correctly. I got a glimpse last time of a deep and breathtaking love and generosity: a love that wanted me to look up and know I belonged to it. It would come sit beside me, come whisper its promise in the form of a young child who didn't see our cultural differences but would simply run up to me and hold my hand or sit in my lap or want to play a game.
I am not sure I have the words for it yet but as I return things feel a little more spacious. A sense of safety comes quicker and the desire to be included in the love that is here has more of a command. The love that I glimpsed last time in the way this family takes care of each other and shares itself so generously, so beautifully, is I am realizing with more depth, for me too. I am included. I am loved by the same God that has grown this place of hope.
So I don’t know–I guess all I think I am understanding right now is that returning is important. When we have a sense that riches lie in a certain place - be it in churches in which we have glimpsed hope, relationships in which we have glimpsed honest love, service to others through which we have glimpsed compassion and unity, communities in which we have glimpsed the promises of God then it's going to be important to return. We may receive gifts in a fleeting visit and we will be richer for these. And we will certainly encounter the difficulties that come in feeling like an outsider or working through new relationships and differing needs. Despite the promise that we first glimpsed we may not want to return. But returning and returning again provides for the time and the work it needs to be able to look around, to settle in, to breathe and find space, to remember we are safe, and hopefully to know more deeply that the hope, love, compassion, and promise that we first glimpsed is in fact meant for us too.