arms wide open


You were not perplexed
when I dragged my muddy feet along your carpet,
pulled my broken suitcase through your door.
You were not put off
by the dirt under my fingernails,
or the stench of my unwashed heart.

You did not frown
when I jumped all over your furniture
and pulled all the crockery out of your cupboards;
you saw me coming –
muddy, broken, rejected –
and leapt up, beaming,
running to meet me
arms wide open
and cried “Come in!
I have been waiting for you!”

I’d sent no RSVP in response to your invitation,
but you waited anyway –
staring over the distance
between us, watching
for that first small step.
And then you ran, feet slapping
hands clapping, clothes flapping
to meet me –
arms wide open.

You gave me new clothes to wear,
mended my suitcase,
helped me clean under my fingernails.
You applied the ultimate stain remover
to my heart – grace
pure and undiluted,
applied with just the right amount
of loving kindness,
washing away the embedded dust
and darkness, transforming
the stale dullness and beginning
a new, re-created brightness
in me, until I could no longer
imagine
what I had been without you.

(C) Lucy Mills 2011



Used during welcome service.

Image: source unknown

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