Recently, during our formation time, we’ve been exploring the liminal state in which we find ourselves. On the one hand, we are here in Richmond, serving at Grace-on-the-Hill in our worksites and Oregon Hill, and on the other, we must look to the future and consider what comes next. We are standing on a threshold between what is and what will be, and it affects everything we do.
Last Wednesday, we had a time of giving thanks. Cynthia asked us to consider different aspects of our lives at Grace-on-the-Hill: our fellow residents, our program directors, our worksites, the neighborhood, and the city. We were asked to give thanks for things within this circles of influence, not judging the thoughts that came to us, but allowing ourselves to be thankful for anything and everything that came to mind.
After we had some personal time to consider all that we are thankful for, we came together and wrote down some of our observations. Once we shared them in writing, we placed the pages on a table and walked around it, lifting up our thanks in a litany, holding these memories and moments in prayer. Looking into the circle, we shared our own joys, and each other’s, and we gave heartfelt thanks.
I was surprised by some of the things that came to my mind: I haven’t spent a lot of time at the Overlook in Oregon Hill, but I was thankful for that quiet place. Other things were obvious: Vincent’s cooking, Teresa’s compassion, the friends I’ve made in the last nine months. I am thankful for so many things about this year at Grace-on-the-Hill that were I to write a comprehensive list, I would still be here when the next residents move in.
The thing that kept popping up for me, though, was the welcome I have received through this program: the Diocesan staff, the choir, my fellow residents. Each of these groups, and many others, have welcomed me so warmly and openly, and I find that “radical welcome” has been a theme for my time in Oregon Hill. The lessons and blessings I have received this year are infinite, and I know that my experiences will continue to weave themselves through the fabric of my life. The kindness I have been shown in welcome, however, is so much of the pattern that has been, and will be, woven. What I’m trying to say is ‘thank you’. Thank you for welcoming me in love and for setting an example of kindness and generosity to which I can strive as I take my experiences this year with me in my future endeavors. Thank you for your support and advice which have helped me through some difficult times I’ve faced in the last year. Thank you for opening your arms to me and making me feel so at home in a city I had never explored with people I hadn’t met. Thank you!