During service this week, a perfect stranger approached me. I went to shake his hand; he quickly offered a hug, saying, “Good morning.”
To him, I’m sure it was one of countless hugs he doled out at the Center during service. But to me, in that moment, it was the perfect act of acceptance, to have reached for one level of greeting and be welcomed with a strong, firm affirmation of welcome and love in the Spirit.
I doubt this person has any idea he did this for me, but by doing what I assume he does every week with minimal effort or consideration and just by being himself, he changed my experience.
I don’t know why this particular hug impacted me more than the many others I received that morning. Maybe it was because I needed it after a challenging week, or perhaps the excellent affirmation I created the day before manifested it. But, it reminded me that we impact each other in ways we aren’t even meant to know because we are all united in Spirit. And it also made me think about a little boy who wanted to be adopted by a place.
This boy is about eight years old. He walked around angry because everyone around him had always let him down; he never felt safe. He had learned that you can never know what is coming next, but you’d better be ready for it. Then he came to Drumm Farm.
Drumm Farm is a place where families care for foster children and young adults aging out of the system. The families are part of a working farm, share the responsibilities, and provide a place for these youth to feel a sense of connection and have a place where they belong.
After a couple weeks at the Farm, the boy surprised his foster mom by telling her he wanted to be adopted by Drumm Farm.
“Honey, you can’t be adopted by the place, only by the people at the place,” she told him.
“But I like it here, and I never want to leave,” he said, “I rode my bike home, and when I came over the hill, I knew I’d be safe.” He knew that he would be able to handle whatever he saw when he topped the hill at Drumm Farm because he’d found a place he belonged, and there would be people there to support him, a new feeling for him.
People build communities just by being themselves and doing simple things like hugging each other, providing support, and creating connection thus allowing Spirit to act through them. This young boy experienced the feeling of family support at Drumm Farm, and I get it at the Center.
And to all of you at the Center, I say thank you. Thank you to that man who hugged me and who won’t know this is about him even if he reads this. Thank you for supporting Drumm Farm, one of the Center’s three non-profits for the year. Thank you for believing that you matter- that each of us matters. Thank you for being uniquely you, and letting God shine through.