lessons learned: giving back to the community that raised me

Recently, I was asked why I returned to my hometown to live as an adult. I responded that I felt compelled to give back to the community that raised me.  Typically that answer satisfies people, and they smile politely and we move on in conversation.  This person, however, wanted me to dig more deeply.

one view of my community
one view of my community

“What does that mean?  ‘Give back to the community that raised you?'”

Although my choice of words had come so easily to me for many years, I knew that I had grown and changed a bit on my life’s journey.  What did that response mean to me now?

Last night, I was graced with the opportunity to visit with friends from church.  I sat in their home, shared prayer time with them, took communion with them, and listened to them.  They told stories of trials and travels, children and churches.  We exchanged fond memories and meditated on new struggles. And throughout the evening, my soul was warmed by their openness and hospitality.

You see, these friends I have known since my childhood.  She taught me in my first church as a teacher, and he guided me through high school as my principal.  Now, I had the opportunity to nurture them as they had once nurtured me (and I daresay, continue to nurture me).

As I drove home, I thought about the question posed to me a week ago, and I pondered the gift of that evening’s visit.  There was the answer right there in my heart–yes, my desires for returning home were becoming a reality, and boy, wasn’t it a blessing.

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