Thursday, January 3, 2013

a new skin

[My ever-patient, gentle-as-a-dove, wise-as-a-serpent mother has blackmailed me into starting packing for London now and not on Tuesday at midnight. I've packed three things! Time to take a "well-earned" blogging break.]

Making new friends on a hot July day

A long time ago [aka just short of three years ago], at the end of my illustrious high school career, I wrote a speech.

Naturally, the speech included a C.S. Lewis quote, a Mama T quote, and a central story into which the two quotes were woven.

The central story, in keeping with many of my stories, was a story about children.
These particular children had started following me when I was on a run in our neighborhood.
I had so rudely interrupted the game they were playing on the sidewalk, and as I ran through their midst, they said hi.
I said hi.
They introduced themselves.
So good to meet you! I called out as I kept running.
Then they asked me my name.
Caught off guard, I responded, Renée, and continued running.
I heard a bunch of giggles behind me, and realized the two youngest were running with me.
I was struck with fear.
What on earth would their parents think if they came out and saw their children following a teenaged-girl version of the Pied Piper?
One of the older kids called them back to finish the game, and so the little parade was cut short.
But as I continued my run, I kept dwelling on that encounter.

I am continually amazed at the openness of children. Their ability to treat every single person they meet as a new friend; their willingness to share their lives so easy; their eagerness and excitement to welcome others into their lives.

When we read in the Gospel: "The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these," I have always thought of those children. The call to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is the call to love every single person who runs across our path, it's the call to love boldly, it's the call to trust deeply.
Christ didn't approach His apostles and introduce Himself, produce a list of credentials, rattle off reams of references, and await their response. As a total stranger, He walked up to them and said: Drop what you're doing. Come, follow me. You don't know me, but trust me--Follow me--and it will change your life.

And that's how the best adventures start.

When they finished laughing they were on their way to being not just friends, but the dearest of friends, the sort of friends whose lives are shaped by the friendship.
― Robin McKinley, Spindle's End

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