This week the moment in Spirit Play that captured me came right at the end of class. Everyone was doing their work. We had about 5 more minutes before it was time to clean up and re-gather on the rug for our closing song. An adult came in the room. I reminded him that class didn’t end for 15 min. but he was a new member who was still on summer service schedule and they had missed church. His son was lagging behind in the hallway, not quite ready to come in. Inside me two things happened. One thing was to be mindful of the interruption to class this entrance made with another grown up standing at full height and talking to me, another adult. It really does shift the dynamic of our child-centric space. I wanted to protect our space. The other thing that happened in me was a desire to be welcoming and to put aside the rules in order to be more like…well, like church. So in they came, the boy clinging to his father’s leg. Eventually the child joined us on the rug and his father left for a short time. I had promised that after class, if they had time to stay I could show them around the classroom and tell them what we do in our class. After all the other children were gone, we were waiting for his Dad to come back. I was talking to him about Spirit Play….”every week we get to sing songs and we get to share the joys and sorrows of our heart and we get to hear a story….” but I had already been interrupted. “Do you know that I lost my Mom?” he says. Everything stopped. “No I didn’t know that. That must be a very big sorrow in your heart.” His Dad came and we toured around the classroom. He shared with me that his wife had died. He expressed desire to come back. He felt that this community is what his family needs. I extended a heartfelt invitation that they are welcome here whenever they can join us. I am so glad that I could set aside the rules and open to relationship. The tears came after they left. How brave to come here, to be honest and hurting. What a gift that I could be open instead of rushing, instead of insisting on the letter of the law. I’m not always able to do that. Again, this was a moment where the authentic welcome extended to this family is the work of love. It is how we are community together. And for me, another gift for my practice. What a good model for me….to come be nurtured and fed by this community. I am one who frequently handles it on my own, handles it with my friends. If I’m honest, I don’t bring my wounds to church if I can help it. But I hope to learn how so I too have an opportunity to be met with love and welcome.