To Love, To Be Loved

This is the first week that I have been able to relax and breathe following a really busy semester. I indulged in some self-care in the form of binge watching TV, and avoiding the responsibilities of housework and laundry. I rounded the week off with a hike with a great friend, where we spent 4+ miles sharing our stories and enjoying the comfort ofknowing we're not alone in our struggles. Something we at RISE often refer to as "the healing power of 'me too.'" After a hike, I spent the evening at a local craft brewery with some good friends and good music. 

I came home Friday night feeling this rush of emotions. I didn't know how to sort through them and I still don't. I cried a little bit, but not out of sadness - out of happiness, and a feeling of such acceptance. Saturday was another busy day of receptions and birthday parties, and socializing. The theme remains the same, though - an abundance of love and community, swelling around me. I realized that I was drowning in love. Today was no different. 

There are a lot of changes underway. People are leaving, moving, embarking on new journeys. Jobs are changing, people are getting married, and along with these things, I am constantly growing. It is surely frightening, but love always conquors fear. 

I just wanted to take a moment to thank every single person who contributes to the love I feel embraced by every week. To the people of this beautiful, life-giving community I have found in RISE; to the people of this incredible town that has accepted me and helped me decide to call Harrisonburg home; to friends near and far who lend a listening ear when I need someone to talk to....thank you all. I wake up every day believing that this world is a good place, filled with kind people and it is all because of the love I see in your hearts. 

"Momma once told me - you're already home where you feel loved...” (The Head & The Heart) 

It is all because of you.

"My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us - perfect love." - 1 John 4:11-12 

So, thank you.

-Written by: Paula Love