Canoes at Myre-Big Island State Park, Minnesota.
Changing leaves in Rice Lake State Park, Minnesota.
After my meeting in St. Louis was finished, I picked my mom up at the airport and we headed west across Missouri. Along the way we visited the towns where my maternal grandmother was born and where she grew up. We also spent a couple of hours visiting with friends from our old church in Columbia, where I was born and lived till I was 10. The faces above are of some of the many people there who, along with my family, were among my first teachers about God and community and friendship.
Moving away from Columbia was a wrenching loss for me, and it took me many years to grieve it. But on the drive home to Minnesota yesterday, as I was grieving it a little more, I realized that that early experience of community is what makes community-building such an important ministry for me today. I know it's possible, because there it was. And so it is now again also, with different people in a different place, my dear sisters and friends. Having missed it for many years, I have come to understand what a rare, and yet essential gift it truly is.