It is easy to know when you are welcomed. More than words, nonverbal language, and even gestures; you can feel it. At times you may get the wrong signal, however not often. It is as if there is a clear welcome mat or “do not disturb” sign nail to the doors of our hearts. We may not know it is there but our bodies do. We may think we are being friendly, welcoming, and open however our bodies only know how to tell the truth. The result is a flood of mixed messages at times. The awesome news is that other bodies know the truth as well. So we “know” what is being said even before we know.
I grew up in a home where the welcome mat was out, all the time. Even in the midst of a family debate, if someone was coming or randomly showed up at the door, differences were put aside and the best of what we had was brought to the table. Often it wasn’t much, but it was always the best of what was there.
There are those who say one thing yet signal something different. Increasingly I don’t mind being in their presence for a short time but not for long. I thirst for the warmth, safety, and nurture which come from being in a place where I am welcomed. I long for real laughter, stories, and even disagreements. I crave the learning which comes with true dialogue.
Sometimes I am directed to a God hiding behind complex theories, behavior gateways, and confusing signals. I know it cannot be as complex as it appears. Yet, in my steps I find others are as lost as I am. They are searching with open hearts and minds, looking for signals of unconditional welcome and hospitality. The pictures clear when I remember the invitation made long ago. “I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love.” (John 15.9)
The invitation is there for you and me. Come and experience. Sit and just be.
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