The welcoming in-- there's not a picture more beautiful. I want to live in those moments, on both ends. I want to freeze them in my lens, to witness them over and over and over. The new kid at school, shy and nervous, shown kindness with a "hey, you can look on with me", or "there's an open seat right here." A passer-through in the back on Sunday morning, greeted with a handshake and an invitation to be not just near, but with. A first-time customer in the coffee shop, exchanges of names and laughter and more words than two hands of fingers can count.
Those are the moments, the ones that count to the core. You're genuinely welcomed in, you remember. That's how a cycle happens, the golden rule formed. Even on the outside looking in, there's no forgetting the all too rare extension of unbridled kindness.
I can only imagine the day when welcoming in never ceases. Gates encased in pearls, swung open wide, and the chorus erupts, the chanters never tire, because your presence matters. Your Father sweeps you up in his arms and whispers just loud enough for you to hear, "Welcome home." And this family, it never leaves. Regardless of who you are, where you've been, what you've done, welcomed you will be.
No matter the past exclusions, the full seats taken, plans made without you, the feeling of being overlooked, insignificant that's kept you quiet for so long, it's all wiped away because you will never not belong. You don't have to hold tight to the joy because it'll never stop clinging to you. For you my friend, you are home.
I wrote that two days before opening the book that gave more life to these words. "Let's All Be Brave" by Annie F. Downs. She writes of bravery in little steps and big ones, this great call to courage that we can no longer ignore. Her words showed me what corners of my life are begging bravery to infiltrate. Her words made me see bravery in my own.
Kindness needs us to be brave, especially when unwarranted. I care about those who feel small; often I don't have the courage to step out and show it. I should. After all, I've battled with feelings of exclusion my whole life. I thought being in the "it" group would fill me up. Well, it didn't- you're shocked, I know. I just want to infuse a little hope that when home doesn't feel like home, holding out for Home, for a forever life with our Heavenly Father is worth all the bad days ahead and behind. But waiting doesn't meaning sitting idly, playing on our phone, hoping for our name to be called. It means LIVING. And is living too, is brave.
I know I want to take a chance, to let bravery win, and to let my imagination shake hands with real life. This whole tame, safe thing? Not what I was made for. I know it. A wild mind, a wilder spirit, a leap, and I'll be off. A great story of my own awaits and my Father is waiting for me to play my part (you too!). I want to stop letting fear of perception dictate words on my tongue or measure the noise of my laughter, or decide one more decision for me. This is my story, and to let bravery win calls for living it well.
Live a great story. Hold out for Home. Keep moving forward. Keep showing kindness. Keep being brave.
Written while listening to:
This Must Be The Place - Iron & Wine, Ben Bridwell
Reprise - Family and Friends
Dýrð í Dauðaþögn - Asgeir