A friend of mine, with a spacious backyard, has seen a pair of ducks return in the springtime, year after year, to her pool. She has welcomed them for a long time, and she awaits their arrival annually. Two years ago in the fall, she and her husband did some renovation. Last year when the ducks came back, they returned to find a very large garden where the pool had been! They waddled around, somewhat bewildered for a while, before flying away (presumably to the property of a neighbor who had not had the audacity to remove their pool).
Although my friend did not expect them back, sure enough, this spring they came to pay her a visit in her garden. They stayed for a day, and then went on their way to a place more hospitable for their egg laying, but the point is, they came back. They knew that, even though the physical surroundings were no longer what they needed, they had found a welcoming environment her yard, and they returned just for a bit of that.
As much as we may enjoy flying about in the adventure of our lives, we all need a safe place to land. Someplace where we know we are cared for and comfortable, someplace to call home. This looks different for each of us – for a young child it is their mother’s arms, for a young adult just beginning their independent life it might be their parents’ house, for many of us it might be a favorite vacation spot, or perhaps our actual home (and aren’t we blessed when that is the case?). Often, our Congregations provide this for us as well.
What they all have in common is what they provide: solid ground, a welcoming environment, and a feeling that we are loved. And sometimes even a swimming pool.