Thursday, December 6, 2012

Grace Is the House That Ardis Built

You would have to have missed a good number of posts on my blog to have missed how much, has helped me keep my sanity on days when I am in enough pain I barely make it out of bed. This particular response came to a post about a woman who decides that instead of selling her home, on prime real estate, she instead decides to fill it with friends and strangers who need a place to stay, and more love in their lives.  Ardis, and what she does at Keepa, fit that model spiritual to a T.  Sometimes we get so busy with our lives that we forget to say thank you to those who we rely on, and with the hundreds of regular Keepa readers, I think we all sometimes take Ardis a little for granted.  I hope that reading the story she posted, and my thoughts, that you too will be inspired to take a moment and consider what you could do to serve others, as well as finding joy for yourself in that service.

Advent: Oh Little Town

Learning to hear the whispers of my spiritual ancestors from the hallway, to see the world from the window in my bedroom, at the home Ardis built with love.  What a great blessing to be able to go to Keepa when I am homesick, in pain, and looking for a little light from those who lived good an honorable lives, before I was born.

I want to have a wrinkled face, both laugh lines and a few lines to attest that I have lived through heartache and pain, and have survived with my mind in tact, even if my body is likely to not be very active at the rate it is going. I too want to be surrounded by love and laughter. It is doubtful that after my mom is gone that I will have much contact with my biological siblings. (I hope I am wrong and reconciliation happens at some point. I am not the one who has control over that, and so I have been creating a "family of spiritual siblings.)

I hope that I will be able to be the one hosting and sharing everything I have with those who have needs and wants, but who mostly just need to be loved. Women in their 60s today would probably not consider their life virtually over because of a husband's death, but almost everyone has times in their lives when they are lonely and alone. The part of this story that rang most true to me is that there are ways to reach out to others, no matter what your circumstances. Especially with online communities, where we can get to know and love those who are many miles away, and share a love and desire to serve that is deep, abiding, and brings blessings that are needed.

I thought of you Ardis, as I read the story. I don't know what kind of physical home you love in, but here at Keepa you have created a home for all of us. There seem to be endless rooms, full of stories, love, laughter, the sharing of pain, and of the small miracles that happen so often, and yet it is hard to find a place to share them, as part of a much larger narrative.

The grand sweep of history, including the good, the bad and the ugly (in the stories and sometimes is how they are written) and in doing so allow us to see and acknowledge this history that I have been adopted into. Given my location, life path and health struggles I might never have gotten to know so many of the early saints, how they saw themselves through their stories, the advertisements that appeal to them. Keepa is so much deeper and radiates a bright light, invited those who are not scholars and who would never be in a place or time where they could look for the materials, near mind understanding them. More than any book, anthology or encyclopedia could compare in its ability to cross the gaps of time and place, for a large swath of church history, through the eyes and ears that lived and loved, gained testimonies through struggles and trials, and who still are basically my spiritual brothers and sisters, who I would never have met without the lovely home that you have created.

You have made me welcome when I am lost and don't understand, and you are patient as I understand some, but then come back to learn a little more, each time I walk up the staircase, and overhear a conversation going on in the room whose door is half shut so that I cannot see the faces of those talking, but I can listen in and get to know them.

Thank you for sharing your home with me and so many others!

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