Come on in and, please, find a seat.

You are safe here, and beyond welcome.

Stay a while.

I don’t promise you a delicious home-cooked meal, because that’s not the kind of hospitality I’m good at, and my house won’t be clean. In fact, I can all-but guarantee you’ll have to step over scattered toys just to get to the couch.

What I would love to do is offer you a comfortable seat, a place to put up your feet and rest a while. I’ll offer you a hot drink on a cold day or a cold drink on a hot one, and you’re welcome to anything in the fridge if you want a snack.

Once you’re settled, we get into the kind of hospitality that runs in my blood. I want to welcome you into the conversation, to give you the chance to listen and to talk, to hear and be heard. I want you to feel comfortable enough to share or to listen, or to participate in whatever way you desire. You’re welcome here, whether you’re silent, talking, praying, weeping, or even if you fall asleep.

Welcome in every sense of the word.

Please come in, and stay a while.

***

If you choose to have a seat and stay, sooner or later you’ll hear it all. We’re not much for covering things up here, nor for keeping interactions on a surface level while our hearts suffer and starve underneath.

Life is beautiful and good, and it’s hard and ugly. We tend to believe that we can share one sort of experience but that we need to hide the other. But when we do that, we cut off the parts of ourselves that are hurting, broken, and wanting.

The only way to grow, to become the people we were intended to be, is to tell the truth about the hard as well as the easy, and the ugly as much as the good. We will always be a mixture of the beautiful and the ugly, because we are simultaneously whole and tarnished. And it’s not only human beings who carry this beauty and pain simultaneously, but the word around us holds these things, too.

That’s just the beginning: just the beginning of my thoughts on the relationship between telling the truth and growing and what growing might look like, and the beginning of the conversation I’m inviting you into. In many ways, I’m a beginner to these kinds of thoughts, too. These aren’t the sorts of things you learn when you get letters behind your name or where you can pass a test to prove your competence.

They’re lessons of life and reflection, learned more from taking the experiences life offers and putting the pieces together in a way that seems to make sense than from a book (though some of the great ones do help you order the pieces)

So sit and talk a while, and maybe we’ll both understand more than we do now.