The longer I work in the Public school system, with under served youth from so many diverse and often hard to imagine backgrounds the more grateful I become for the opportunity to always go home.
Next week, for the holidays I'll be spending the whole week with my family and I am so looking forward to it. There's something so comforting in knowing that no matter how far I go that I'm always welcome home. That's a feeling that I don't take for granted because I know that not everyone gets to feel that way.
As humans we all long for community, for a home. I believe that we all have within us a desire to be welcomed by others, to have a place where we can let down all of our walls and just be.
I don't know if you know what it's like to feel lost or alone, like you don't belong anywhere or don't have a place to call home. I've never had those feelings myself but I've seen them, I've seen them in the eyes of students. Young people that are too young to know the feeling of rejection from the people that they call family.
I've never felt it but I've seen it and seeing it and being around it makes me hurt to my heart. It makes me value the home and the community that I have but it also makes me want to create that everywhere I go. I want to learn how to make the students that I interact with and the people that I meet feel safe, feel like they have a community and most importantly feel at home.
As I count down the days to Thanksgiving I can't help but to audibly acknowledge my blessings and all of the things that I'm grateful for. I'm grateful for my parents and the safe haven that they've always created in our home. I'm grateful for my siblings and how we always advocate for and support each other. I'm grateful for my church community, that they're not just people that I interact with on Sunday's but people I do life with.
I'm grateful for my friends and how they are continually putting up with my craziness. I'm grateful for the gifts and the talents that the Lord has blessed me with and how I've been able to use them to glorify his kingdom.
Right now, more than anything, I'm beyond grateful for my job and the way that it exposes me to situations that I had never seen before. Situations that show me how to have a little more compassion, a little more patience, a little more empathy.
I struggle sometimes with putting myself in other people's shoes and allowing myself to settle into their skin, to see the world from their perspective. Sometimes I'm so deep in my own life that I forget to look up and take in what's going on around me.
As I get ready to spend an awesome week at home I can't help but to see all of those that aren't sure of where or with who they'll spend the holiday. My favorite holiday, the one where I'm surrounded by so much love and laughter is for others a day where they're reminded of how alone they feel.
How can those of us that know what it's like to have a home and a community make ourselves available to be a source of love for those that are lacking it? I don't know all of the answers but I do know that love is the starting point. I wasn't there when my parents first decided to start a life together and to build a home but I think that love was the main component. So if we're sincere in our intentions and we love others, maybe just maybe, they'll feel like they belong...maybe with us they'll feel like they have a home.
Happy thanksgiving everyone. May you be surrounded by love this holiday season and may that fuel you to love others.