D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Mutuality: Not Just a Buzzword!

So, part of my angst after the Justice conference spilled out into my newest column. It feels good to have written it down, and to have a reminder of what my expectation vs. reality often is. But as I was writing, I started to get mired in all that is not right, I could feel the sad stories start to eclipse the hope. Then, the soul-crushing guilt comes rolling in, telling me I am not doing enough, that the good years are behind, that the future is always in flux, never in solid relationship.


And then, two nights ago, we left the door unlocked and the refugee kids creep in, looking for a friend, content to just sit and play for awhile.

Yesterday, we go to our neighbors house to have chai and delicious Nepali food, to sit and talk about babies and the sunshine and possible small business ideas.

Last night, a former student of mine, a sweet, nearly toothless Vietnamese man, brought bags and bags of food to school for me. This is the second time in a month; he never says much. Just smiles and shoves the beautiful, ornate, smelly food in my hands and walks away, takes the bus back to his house.


And all of this is so unexpected. Nobody wants anything from me. They want to be friends. I know this sounds strange, but this might be the weirdest part of my life right now. I feel uncomfortable with my friendship, like I must offer something more in order to be worthwhile. English class, small business opportunities, a play group. But my friends and neighbors just smile and nod politely and go back to cooking me food (I am racking up a delicious food debt so high there is no hope of ever paying it back--I must cut my losses right now and declare grace in the realm of cooking hospitality).

In a season of questions, I am being blessed by the people I thought somehow needed my help. It is blowing my mind, this mutuality, this risk in only being friends.



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