I've had a dream for my life as long as I can remember. Not a daydream or a wishful thinking kind of dream, but an actual dream that comes in the night, whether the darkness is quiet or full of storm.
It comes sometimes only once a year, sometimes every week. It is often inspired by absence as much as by presence.
In this dream, I live in a big house with wide windows that slide right open, just over from a large table and a big kitchen that opens to the whole living space. The table is surrounded by mismatched chairs and the light is warm, gentle. The room is full of life.
In that house, I am constantly talking, listening, laughing and cooking. I am endlessly wrestling with children's happy embracing and high-pitched giggling. There is always someone just arriving to join the table. There is always someone being welcomed and I always wake, feeling that I have come home.
What can it mean, that after all these years, my dream is the same?
I live an uneasy spirituality – very transparent with my beliefs and hopes and expecting nothing from those who do not share them, other than to be welcomed as I am, with the strength of my beliefs and the gracefulness with which I hope to live my life. It is uneasy, because so often my beliefs without a word or action from myself – make others feel so unwelcome. And that is not my dream.
My dream is a community of faith that is always welcoming people to the table. Always embracing them with laughter and stories of our shared humanity; our hopeful endeavours to be better than our parents or those who have gone before us.
Yesterday, the Marriage Equality Act became law and my Facebook feed was swamped with my brothers and sisters closing the door to guests who would be welcome at my table. They didn't stop at the door. They cleared away the places set, they shut the windows and locked them too. The light went cold and blue.
Last night, I dreamed the dream of my life and no one came to the table. I sat alone, in the dark and in the quiet.
How can it be, than someone else's lack of compassion or courage to face a new world that God is equally present in and to – should make a guest unwelcome in my own home, dream or not?
I do not share the same beliefs as my sister or my father or my trainer or the locals at the bar. But we do share some beliefs. In the necessity of compassion, embracing our fears, a certain selflessness that is at times warranted, an understanding that we live in a diverse world.
So, I will not argue today, the case for or against what I believe about any one topic. Because I intend to welcome people to my table and fling open the doors to all who should require a meal or a soft place to lay their head.
I believe that there are many people coming to that table – tonight, tomorrow and for the rest of my life. I believe Jesus will be at that table very soon, doing what he always does – making the room full of life. No one needs to see him or believe him to be there for it to be true. I see him, with a wink and a nod and the lights go back on.
This essay was originally published on www.tashmcgill.com.
Tash McGill is a professional writer and communications consultant who has been involved in youth ministry for 15 years, working in local churches as a volunteer and bi-vocational youth pastor. She is passionate about adolescent development, community formation and hospitality.
Tash McGill's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tash-mcgill.html