“Thank you.” I heard it way too many times this week- from the thrift store owner who gave us free sweatshirts, to a complete stranger at Newk’s on the way back.
I got frustrated, because I wanted to explain, over and over again, that they had nothing to thank us for- I wanted to explain that the community of Guin was giving us something, something so much greater than our week, something we could never thank them for.
Never before had I experienced the unconditional love of a tight-knit community, a week of true Southern hospitality and great food, an excursion into a world so much more vibrant than our day-to-day back home.
But I couldn’t, and I still can’t, because there are no words to describe what Guin gave us, while we gave only our time. It wasn’t just Momma T, the head honcho of the local Habitat for Humanity, or the sweet heart and energy of WW2 veteran Mr. Carter. It wasn’t just the overwhelming amounts of delicious food, or the complete acceptance of the town.
But whatever it was, I loved it.
The past week was a little messy, with our projects and schedules existing on a “wait and find out” basis, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way; we got to see so much more of the community, from the Women’s Hope pregnancy center to the hospice to the local church.
I loved my group, too. The only thing we truly had in common was our desire to serve, but that turned out to be enough; I got to know some amazing, vibrant people I never would have had the opportunity to otherwise. I’m not going to forget game nights or Disney screamo or the deep, kind of odd talks we had gathered around a deck of cards.
I learned so much from each person, about how to fully live and focus on what’s important, and I watched each of us grow more centered and focused each day.
At the end of the day, all I want to do is say thank you. Thank you to Guin, for opening their doors and their hearts to us for a week. Thank you for the world’s best site leader, for her energy and love. Thank you for ASB, for existing, for giving me the opportunity to see this community, to spend this week with this amazing people.