Saturday, June 12, 2010

I HEART LAUNDRY

Today was an amazing day. I experienced God's love for me through the people He has brought into my life.

And it all started with laundry....

See, I don't have a washer or dryer at my place, so my wonderful friend whom I met from work lets me wash clothes at her place whenever I need to. But...she doesn't just let me use her washer and dryer...

She invites me into her home. She welcomes all of me, the quirky side and the emotional side and the happy side...all of me. She feeds me, she offers me coffee or water, she makes fun of my new juice diet. She is a friend. And she has two kids, both of which have learned to be kind and funny and welcoming from their wonderful mother.

So while I am doing laundry today, she invites me to a neighborhood fish fry that a dear old neighbor puts on every year. How could I say no?

We head on over to the cookout and I am amazed when we arrive. There are tons of people, all of whom have come together because of one old man. Everyone is asked to bring a side dish, and he provides the fish, all of which he catches himself and freezes until the big day of his fish fry.

I only knew a couple of people there, but my friend was sure to introduce me to everyone she knew (which was pretty much everyone). And everyone was so friendly! I was in good company so it was very natural and comfortable for me to make small talk with the moms and grandmas and listen to everyone's stories about recent trips and family get-togethers.

I got first-hand experience about what it means to belong to a community. Some people hadn't seen each other in several months, but it was like not even a day had passed. And me, a stranger, felt like a friend among all of these new faces.

After the fish fry, me and my friend made small talk on her back patio while my last load of clothes dried, and I opened up to her about my family, my drinking, the new guy, work, and so on. We chatted about her ups and downs as well, all of which require trust and acceptance for each of us to talk so openly with each other. I have never felt so connected to those around me as I had today, and I truly know what friendship and community is all about.

What a blessing to experience this most basic gift from God, the gift of love within a community.

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