So, when a casual acquaintance shows up on your front porch, and asks if she can have some water for her dog - she'll go wait in the school yard, she doesn't want to be a bother - while she waits for the city police to serve the restraining order on her husband, I think about the only thing you can do is fill the water bowl and make her a cup of coffee. Loan her some shoes and a jacket. Hold her hand and listen. Tell her you are proud of her for doing this brave and terrifying thing. Tell her that you believe in her. Wish to God that you had known before, wondering if you had stepped in sooner, wondering if you had done more than wave as you went past her yard, wondering if you had made time in your busyness.

And when you listen to her talk to her mother, and you hear a mother tell her daughter to just come home, you get, in that moment, in that place, a sense of what God is and what He has spent all of eternity trying to tell me. You get a sense of how slow of a learner that you really are, and how terribly simple it really is.

Some years ago, when I left boarding school to go to University, the Dean of Women, who became a dear friend, asked what I needed to move on to this next phase of my life. And I didn't have to think long. I needed a place, that no matter what, I could return too, if only for a few hours, and call home. A place to retreat to when I failed, and a place to return to when I succeeded, to have those around me cheer - not because of what I did or did not do, but because they loved me, and when you love someone, you cheer. A place for when I was discouraged and defeated, a place for when I didn't know which way was up, a place that always had heart room for me, because I was me, and they loved me. A place of good memories, and bad, that represented the core of who I was.

The school closed 7 years ago, the land and buildings were sold. My home, such as it was, is gone. But I return to it in my memories, in photographs. I am learning: there is a small corner of my heart called Lucy Baker, and I carry it, and the lessons I learned there, in my heart. About hope and caring and compassion, and how to create a community. I could phone the Dean tonight and ask what to do next, but it is late, and I am tired. And I can hear her voice in the home section of my heart. Stop by tomorrow. Hold her hand. Let her fight her battles, but hold her up when you can. Pray.

Compassion, mercy and practicality are what I learned. To make a cup of coffee, and to hold a hand, and drive someone to the police station to figure out if the restraining order has been served. To feed someone dinner. To walk into the house with them, figure out about getting the locks changed. Compassion and mercy. Holding a set of shoulders tightly, and dialing the locksmith.

Mr. Spit has never raised his hand to me. I have never known anything other than his love and care and concern. I am treasured, cherished, adored. I have never known other than the love of a kind, gentle loving, Godly man. I have never had a moment to doubt his love for me. I am blessed and fortunate and loved, and every good kind of adjective. I missed his phone call tonight, and I dearly wanted to say I love you. To thank him for the many ways he loves me and shows he loves me. To tell him how thankful I am for him in my life.

Lessons from home that I carry in my heart. That we are a community, and we live and die and rise and fall and wax and wane with all of us. Those that succeed and those that fail. And because I am succeeding today, does not mean that I will not fail tomorrow. Because I am resilient today, does not mean I won't fall down tomorrow. That no one is a complete success, and no one is a complete failure, and we all both need and deserve love and compassion. And this, the glimpse of God that I got tonight, in the midst of a garbage dump of a situation.

No matter where you are, no matter what is happening, no matter, God always welcomes us home.

No Grammar today, I didn't get the post done. Sorry about that. Next Wednesday.