Driving down the winding and twisting roads of the outskirts of Galway City Center, I found myself surrounded by family. I looked to my left and my right and I saw my brothers and sisters. I felt so comforted and loved and cared about. It was as if we were driving to a cousin’s house for dinner and good company.
Now rewind to the beginning of the school semesters. The entire semester is a count down. A count down to the end of the semester…. gross, I know. Now what happens with this countdown. We loose track of time. We begin wishing time away. This precious gift of time now being wished away for the quick fleeting of a bit of pain, stress, anxiety or discomfort. I remember starting each semester with a terrible mindset of “oh what can be done in a short period of 16 weeks?” That’s not enough time to do anything significant, right?
Being in Ireland, I have never been so happy to be proven wrong and to have a harmful thought pattern being rearranged.
Three months. That’s all it took. A handful of delicious dinners. A couple coffee dates. Hours of board games. Long walks on the prom. Intentionality. That’s it. Just like that I have an amazing new family.
Let me tell you a secret though…. it didn’t even take three months. By the time when I was originally supposed to leave (six weeks in) I still felt the heartache of leaving this family. It didn’t even take 6 weeks for someone to accept me. For me to be welcomed in. For me to feel as if I belonged to something sacred and special.
When I drove to a lovely family’s house on the last evening of my time in Ireland, this hit me so hard. I felt so comfortable and it was if I was there my whole life. This presents a challenge for me, and I challenge you to do the same.
What is six weeks of quality conversations? Coffee dates? Board games? Intentionality and unity in the Spirit? It’s family. That’s what it is.
I have been challenged that no matter where I go, who I am surrounded by or what I am doing, that this lesson be forever imprinted on my heart. That I don’t just limit it to six weeks. But I strive for this in a daily habit and a way of living. So that everyone that we may come in contact with may feel welcomed and loved and cared about just as our heavenly Father pours out onto us.
We are meant to be the body of Christ; hands and feet, folks! So lets get those hands to board games. Get those words to invite people over to your home. Get those feet to long and intentional walks. Get those arms ready for hugs. Because when we welcome brothers and sisters together in unity, we should be doing it with open arms.