Wednesday, November 18, 2015

the importance of saying "you are welcome".



One time an aunt gave me a beautiful tea cup. She said she knew I collected them and that she wanted to offer it to me. I was floored and complimented and flushed with joy. I told her thank you over and over. And she told me it was no longer special to her. She said she was going to give it away but wanted to see if I was interested first. I cupped my hand around the fragile bowl of that tea cup and blushed to the depth of my core.

Now I think about that interaction over the tea cup and realize: it wasn't about her, but about me. 

I was so thankful, so prepared to give that beautiful cup a safe home and those two facts were enough. It didn't need to hold meaning on both ends, it didn't need to be defined as relationship changing for both of us, it just needed to be what it was. But there's days when I see the tea cup holding my bracelets in it's china hull and I wish she'd said, you're welcome. 

Because we love to be welcomed. We love an open door -even if it's metaphorical and in our hearts. We love a quick embrace -even if it's proverbial words wrapped tight around our souls. When times are tough, life is trying, our soul's home is missing, we ache for a warm welcome. And so our blessed friends extend themselves, opening up a safe space in which we lay down, we mourn, we rest. We know the importance of being welcomed. And we admit how deeply we love to be welcomed.

And yet, my spirit isn't welcoming. It wraps it's arms tight, rocks to and fro protecting itself from the bumps and bruises that life promises to hold. It isn't interested in trying, but prefers what's done. It ignores the invitations to gather, to come together, to commune for fear of emptiness. But this place -with its safe promises and careful controlled circumstance- isn't fruitful or vibrant or fun. It's dull and boring and sheltered.

I'm learning to say, you are welcome. I'm starting with Him. It's hard. It's scary. It leaves me feeling raw and humbled. But I will continue to tell Him, He is welcome. Because as I welcome Him, I have the opportunity to welcome you too. As He opens bits and pieces of my sealed-off heart, my life will grow wider, larger, grander. So hear me please: you are welcome.

Welcome speaks love and worth and belonging. Welcome is a gentle flood over our souls, a care-filled overwhelm that refreshes what's dry, a spray of hope when dire darkness abounds. Welcome is a choice, not always easy or fun, but surely rewarding. Here me please: you are welcome. Your mess and chaos, your beauty and strength, your tears and fear, your sureness and doubts; it's all you and it's all welcome.

You are welcome.

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