Life has resumed. Classes, volunteering at BRCC, Kids stuff, family stuff, spring break visitors, etc have kept me occupied far too much lately. But I have gotten to catch up with a few dear people about the trip to Nepal and talk through some things that I observed, experienced and learned.
My Mom has a gift of hospitality. She has a natural gift of making people feel welcomed and loved all around her and in her home. It was always remarkable to me how comfortable people are in her presence and home. It's a beautiful gift.
Going to Trust Home was, without a doubt, an experience in being loved. "Love Languages" are still a topic of conversations in Christian circles. It's something I ponder often. If you don't know what it is, a few years ago, someone wrote a book about the ways we express and receive love. For instance, if "Acts of Service" is your primary love language, you express your love best through doing something service oriented for someone or feel loved when someone does an act of service for you (like washing your dishes, your car, or other labor task). Other "love languages" are words of affirmation (spoken or written), quality time (spending time with someone), physical touch, and gifts. Fairly straightforward, I've found that understanding a person's love language and speaking love to them in their own love language will make a person feel loved, appreciated and build a stronger relationship. I believe this is a way that God loves us in Agape love, and the way we are called to love others.
What happens, often though, is that we give in our own love language to the detriment of our loved ones. For instance, two of my most valued love languages currently are gifts and words of affirmation. One of my best friends' love language is primarily quality time. If I were to speak to her only in my love languages, she would never feel loved by me. This is something that happens in relationships and marriages all the time that leave people feeling unappreciated, unloved and left to question the care of the other person.
Interestingly, like I said earlier, when we left the Trust Home, I noticed that there was no love language that Trust Home left out in ministering to us, their guests. What was vastly different about visiting Trust Home is that Trust Home is actually these kids home. It is their 'Mo Mo' (Mom)'s home. So we were their guests. And every step of the way, they wanted to make sure we felt loved. Each of those love languages were touched.
Quality Time? Every waking moment we had, we spent with the kids, they grabbed us by hand, took us to play. MoMo (Dolma) made time for each one of us on the time through her day, would stop to talk to us and give us her full attention. Sometimes, without word, just a presence.
Physical Touch? Yes. The culture of Tibet is naturally not physically affectionate. Men and Women don't touch publicly, etc. But those little kids, they'd jump on your lap, grab your hand, the girls played with our hair. Dolma, sweet Dolma, would put her arm around our waist as we walked, talked or stood on the roof and drank in the view of Annapurna.
Words of Affirmation? Yes. On the last day we were there, during Devotion time, The Girls' biggest sister stood and spoke the things that the girls appreciated and thanked us for our time, our visit, the gifts we brought, etc. The Boys' biggest brother did the same. Then Arjun spoke, and finally Dolma. They spoke of how we were family, how loved we were, how appreciated Blue-Ridge was. It was quite an experience.
Acts of Service? This is the easiest answer. Everything they did served us. From meals, to our arrival of carrying our luggage to our rooms, not letting us do any work. The kids did everything for us. It was service as it's most gentle. Dolma wanted us to allow the Girls or the Boys to do it. "My Boys will do it. My Girls will do it."
Gifts? Yes. This was the most surprising. This orphan home is provided for, and takes care of the children well. But they had gifts for us. Bags, a yak-wool blanket, jewelry made by the older girls, all wrapped in a bundle. For each of us. We were called up one by one, blessed by Mo Mo, give a Tibetan welcoming scarf of honor and given a gift. I think we were all in tears buy the end of that final devotion time with our Tibetan family.
There was not one love language left unanswered for our hearts. Whether your love language was just one, or multiple, there was no way you were going to leave Trust home feeling unloved. From this, my greatest lesson was that this is what the Body should be like. We should be loving people so well in all language that there is no person in Christ who should ever leave feeling unloved.
My prayer, my heart is that people never leave my presence feeling the full weight of my love for them. Please, God, make that so in me.