On Being Hospitable

I realized something yesterday.  I guess you can call it an epiphany.  I love that word by the way, it helps me to feel more intelligent.

During yesterdays church service, our priest discussed how Jesus would go off by himself to pray.  Inevitably, during this alone time, he would be interrupted by a person in need.  In need of love, attention, something that would fill them.  Because Jesus was also human, he would probably get annoyed. However, he would never deny them once he understood their understanding, their struggle.

During this time, I looked at my own life, and thought how I all too often allow the business of the day, the tasks that I have to accomplish to get in the way of a moment that I can help, listen and love.  So I decided that I would try harder.  Funny how when a decision is made like this, an event where you can put this into practice always takes place.

In the afternoon, we got home, and had a great deal of chores to do.  Mowing, picking fresh produce from our garden, cleaning out the chicken coop.  We ate lunch, and I ran outside to get started on the mowing.  I love to mow, don’t ask me why, it is just something that I run out to do so others do not get in my way.  As I was mowing, I was thinking of what the kids can help with when I finish, and how late I will be up canning.  In the business of my mind, I looked up, and saw a young couple from our church approach the back yard with their two very young children.  This particular couple has had many challenges in their short married life.  Sickness, poverty, family problems.  They are young, and need much help, much direction.

As I saw them approach, I thought, “Oh no, I wonder how long they plan on staying.  Why did I say they could come by any time?  Don’t they know that is just a figure of speech?  We have so much to do today!”  I know, I sound horrible, right?  But I think we have all thought this.  I hope anyway!

I finished the last pass with the mower, put the yard work tools away, and sat down.  They were bringing their chicken droppings by to help fertilize our garden.  Nice, and thoughtful.  I started to soften, but still was wondering how long they planned on being here.  As they began to talk, their problems poured out.  Their story is quite sad.  But after they were finished, I could tell they felt lighter, and began joking around, laughing, feeling more alive and comfortable.  They ended up staying for five hours.  And we got no chores accomplished.

When they left, Mr. Bits and I just looked at each other.  We said, “Well, so much for chores, but that was fun.”  My mind immediately went to this morning, and the lesson our priest taught us.  You see, I am sure Jesus wanted to be alone and have more time to pray, to get his time with God, to do what he needed to do.  Even though those opportunities happened, many, many times, they were interrupted.  He was always loving, kind, accepting.  My needs are not as important as I believe them to be.  Others have problems, and want to find a safe place to be.  To feel like they are accepted.

Being truly hospitable means that our needs take a back burner.  When a guest arrives, be fully in the moment.  Love them, care for them.  In the end, you will feel much more joyful than if you completed the chore.

Have a great day everyone, and remember to be fully in the moment!




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