This morning I met a homeless woman.
Or at least she was before she moved into a home in my neighborhood.
This morning when she woke, she had a roof over her head and a sense of knowing that she had a place to call her own. Not a place that was on loan or a temporary dwelling place, but a place she could finally call home.
Recognizing that she had a need to tell her story to someone, I listened patiently while she shared her heart with me for the few minutes that our paths crossed. Someone once told me that what comes from the heart always reaches the heart. Listening to her story, I finally knew what that meant.
I saw her eyes light up as she recalled the generous people God had placed in her path along her way. I saw her mother’s heart as she talked about her children. I heard weariness creep into her voice as she mentioned those who had not understood her struggle and had not been the support system in the way she needed. But what mesmerized me the most by her story, wasn’t in the words she spoke.
It was in the soft smile that still clung to her lips.
That smile told me more than any words could have ever spoken. It told me that in spite of her hardships and struggles, in spite of those who were not in her corner, in spite of her tears and fears, in spite of the odds against her, she was home.
In her home.
And in that few minutes of our chance encounter, I realized that home wasn’t just the house we resided in. It wasn’t just the walls that held our prized material possessions. It wasn’t just the place we worked jobs to live in.
It was the contentment in our hearts.
Suddenly I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, and I wanted to click my heels three times and chant, “There’s no place like home.”
But instead I looked at her and with contentment overflowing from my own heart, I said the words her heart needed to hear.
“Welcome home neighbor.”