After just a week, I am still basking in the lovliness of being home after almost a full year overseas. This week I have had meals with many of my closest friends, seeming to slide back into normal life here in Maryland. Last night a good friend made a dinner and about ten of us shared our hearts as we caught up on what we have learned thus year — how we have seen God at work, and our hopes in our next steps.

As I have been away I have come to understand the ugly side of how America is perceived. I realize that I needed to learn to see my culture through the eyes of outsiders, and am interested in how I might be led to share my findings.

But as I talked with my friends during our evening together, sharing for hours about the situation in Israel an Palestine and our implication in the conflict, I was extremely encouraged as I experienced some of the most beautiful qualiies of my people. I was met by openness, love, a desire to learn, question after question, and unsolicited commitments that these friends would share the things they had learned.

My friends are action people who know their influence and desire to do right. We are all ignorant about many things, but when we seek to understand and when we look to act on what we learn, the ambitious American spirit is a beautiful thing.