The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba was playing as I walked through Betty's daughter-in-law's door. Seriously, you would have thought so.
Have I ever felt so welcome, anywhere? So loved? So appreciated? And for why?
'Cuz I was me.
Betty Shadle has a wonderfully loving family that cares for her now that she is in skilled care with Parkinsonian Syndrome. Jack is, well, let's put it this way, "Let me at 'em." He is also very funny, whether droll or hahaha. Jack, Junior, is, well, very smart and strong and yet very tender when it comes to the things that matter in life. If you want an intelligent discussion with someone with whom you are going to disagree, talk to Jack.
And Ann. Ann is God's work, our hands. She not only does it, she embodies it in spirit and action. Talk about faith active in love. And grace. And grace. And more more grace.
Their gracious care for me, on the first leg of this 6,500 mile odyssey, was abundant and free.
In Texas parlance, or Ann's anyway, they just loved on me like I was the queen herself. Better, no stiffness, no protocols, no coy discretion. Just grace. Acceptance. Affirmation. The gifts of kindness and extravagance.
Quite frankly, it was their gracious reception that inspired not just an odyssey but an odyssey of grace. Grace. I had no idea how needy I was for it. Again. And how completely they cared for me.
I decided, hey, if you want to know something, go to the masters.
Hence, this odyssey (Okay, I'm just ripping off Homer but I do love the story, and a poem about it I'll post here soon) to the masters.
Not everyone who is a master of graciousness can be visited by one soul in one Subaru in one month. So if I don't show up, it's not because I don't find you to be a tremendous example of grace. If you read this, odds are, I already do.
But if I do show up, know this. It is because you are a gracious sign of mercy and kindness and love in this world. And I want to watch, just for a little bit. Just to see you in action. Not toward me, but in everyday life. I want to apprentice myself to you for a day or so and learn.
How to be grace. How to be gracious. Thank you in advance for all I will receive. I hope you get something from me, too. I intend that, pray I deliver.