This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Comfortability: Do people feel “at home” in your presence?

Auntie Karen, part of the family that welcomed Lauren to South Africa, cutting up potatoes in her kitchen.

Lauren Francisco is serving a year in South Africa with Mennonite Mission Network. She blogs for The Mennonite. 

“If you don’t feel comfortable and accepted in my presence, what I say, who I am and what I believe will hold no weight.” Lauren Francisco

When two people engage in conversation with the intent to listen more than speak, it’s amazing how quickly your conversations can navigate to depths and heights unimaginable.

We all have that one piece of furniture in our home, whether it’s a plush bed, a couch that swallows you, or a barricade of pillows. There’s something about what I call “comfortability” that puts not only our mind at ease, but our bodies as well.

The same goes with people. I’ve noticed that there are certain people in my life who I know I can let my hair down with. People that I can express my views with without fear of judgment or debate. And most importantly, I can be “ME.”

Who am I? I’m the girl that stays up late and wakes up at dawn to listen to playlists I’ve curated just for the stillness of the night and the calm of daybreak. I’m the girl who can’t sleep most nights, because my thoughts keep me awake–thoughts of wanting to travel more and connect with people who would never necessarily come to me, but ones I must find in the corners of concert halls, benches of parks, and behind tiny lit phone screens scrolling for inspiration or friendship. I want people to feel comfortable, that’s all I could ask.

No matter your religion, race, beliefs, music taste, or views on the world, know that when you’re in my presence, I’m listening and searching for a window to connect. We all have a window, but oftentimes we miss entering others’, out of fear, doubt, and closed minds and ears.

When people see you, do you think they feel comfortable? Can they be themselves without an argument forming or a

A fish curry and roti prepared by Lauren to share with the Ranchod family.
A fish curry and roti prepared by Lauren to share with the Ranchod family.

judgement being cast? The characteristics that are a part of your makeup become mute and invisible when someone is fearful to engage.

With that being said, this came across my mind this morning after thinking of the “home” feeling I get whenever I see the Ranchod family here in Pietermaritzburg. I’m on my own now, settled into my own place, but home is seeing them. Within days, I’ve shared a plethora of intimate details and views because I felt heard and embraced.

This is especially the case with Auntie Karen. We’ve bonded on multiple occasions over cooking curries in the kitchen, tea and chats at her kitchen table, and drives throughout the town. I feel comfortable. There’s no greater feeling in the world. I hope to bring it to as many people as I can over the next year, and throughout the entirety of my life.


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