When you consider our theme, sheltering walls, what images comes to you? First image. No second guessing.
I imagined asking a room full of people to do that and how rich I suspected the responses would be, but I don’t have a room full of people. I wonder if those who read this post today might make a comment with the image that comes to mind for them. It could be brief or more detailed. How rich that would be!
I asked myself. Immediately, what came to mind was my child self sitting on a stool in my grandmother’s kitchen. I grew up in rural Alabama next door to my father’s parents. Every afternoon, without fail, found me in my grandmother’s kitchen on that stool. My childhood self remembers it as the most wonderful place. My adult self knows that it was a small, humble, always clean but very old kitchen. My childhood self felt its wonder because of my grandmother’s power. It was the power of welcome. She always acted as if seeing me and my two brothers was the best thing that happened to her all day. It was the power of hospitality. She always had us come in, sit down and enjoy devil food squares and a Coke. It was the power of attention. She always listened to us, asked us questions, and let us be in the middle of her world while she cooked the evening meal–and all this after a day of working in the business that she and our grandfather owned.
Sheltering walls are created anytime, anywhere that people realize their power to do so: by welcoming, by offering hospitality, and by attending to the lives of those brought into the walls that shelter. Anytime. Anywhere.
Today will offer us each some time and somewhere to exercise this power that we have and are: to create sheltering walls into which we invite others. Where will you practice your great power today?