Hospitality

I haven’t posted for almost 10 days.  That’s a long time of silence for this Chatty Cathy.  But before I realized it, I turned the calendar over to February and realized that my dear friend Doris’ wedding was mere days away and thus….I didn’t have much time to post here.

But something really delightful and amazing happened for me during my time “off the mainland” celebrating Doris and Todd’s marriage.  Even though Doris and Todd were incredibly, beyond belief, generous to each and everyone who traveled to be at the wedding and surrounding events….something deeper kept hitting me smack dab in the face.  Hospitality.  Hospitality oozed from these two.

Aren’t they so cute???  Yes, they just got married, so who couldn’t help but be happy and joyful and beaming and skipping and….well, you get the picture.  But, both Doris and Todd went out of their way, numerous times to make each and every person feel important and loved.  And this hospitality wasn’t just a show for the wedding weekend.  That’s just who they are at the core.  It is part of their heartbeat.  The minute Doris laid eyes on Drew, she kept taking him so I could eat or just sit unencumbered.

She made sure to package up gummy favors for Alex who didn’t come with us for the wedding {but was graciously cared for by my in laws….hospitality again!!!!!!!!}…

As I experienced it myself, and watched others take it in too, I felt and saw a lightening of spirit for each and every person.  One might chalk it up to the Maui, hang loose, tropical breezes mentality.  But for me, it was clear that their hospitality and love allowed others the freedom to be present in the moment.

This hospitality was extended to us as a family too in two distinct ways.  Back in the summer, when Doris called me to share the news of the wedding location, Matt, Alex and I were in Portland on our summer, post camp escape/vacation.   Immediately, I thought to myself, “Of course we’re going!” and then all the impossibilities started creeping in.  We toyed with all sorts of permutations….we could sadly decline, just send me, send me and the baby, send just the baby and Alex {just kidding!}, send only Matt and me.  The list went on and on.  And yet, Leila (my step-mother-in-law) and my Mom kept insisting on a few things.  Leila graciously offered (and had to keep re-offering ’til I finally accepted) to take Alex so we could go with just the not-yet-born-at-that-point baby.  My mom and my friend Natalie were the two that kept saying that Matt and I should both go because we’d have survived many transitions by that time and would need a little breather together.  So, maybe without realizing it, they all offered me/us hospitality as well.  The grace to let others serve you and take care of you.  And I don’t know about you, but that’s HARD for me to accept sometimes.

I feel like I have lost my hospitality bug over the last few years and this trip reignited my desire to be filled with it again.  Not the “Martha Stewart on Steroids” type.  Instead, the kind that exudes warmth, joy and presence with those I’m around.  Sometimes that’s really hard with two kids under 4 years in tow.  Typically I’m struggling with a stroller or getting/keeping them quiet enough to carry on a conversation most of the time.  And then guilt rises up in me and I feel like a HOSPITALITY FAILURE.

Rather than using all that as an excuse, I am trying to remember that what Todd and Doris did this weekend was offer a deeper hospitality.  A hospitality that went beyond meals, luaus and gummy bears.  They were truly offering themselves as a place of rest and refreshment.

Today, I noticed Alex trying to do this for Drew in his own 3 1/2 year old way.  Drew’s teething has reached new PITCHES these days, and Alex is doing everything in his power to help him–offering toys and such to chew on.  But today, I watched him let Drew gnaw on his hand for over 5 minutes.

So I guess it’s becoming clear to me that hospitality can and needs to look different at various stages in our lives.  Maybe it is offering a cup of tea to a friend and a place to let our toddlers go crazy or maybe it’s offering your hand to be gummed by a 4 month old.  Guess it just comes down to listening and looking and being aware of the places and ways God is calling us to live and be in our own unique situation.  Let the “aloha” spirit flow….and many happy adventures ahead to the newlyweds!

3 thoughts on “Hospitality

  1. Excuse me, missy. You are far from a “hospitality failure”. Just had to note that. Love this post and love that Alex is offering his appendages to Drew, what a good big brother.

  2. I’m a huge believer in seasons of life….there will be times when you are able to do more than others. And that’s ok. You have just passed through a time of big transitions; now you may have a little more ability to do for others. And there will probably come a time when you have to scale back for a time again.

    But I hear you….having passed through some HUGE transitions myself and finally feeling more like myself again, I am LOVING that I’m able to give to others in many ways again.

    And just for the record….there are many things (not all of them legal or moral!) that I would do for a Hawaii getaway….just sayin’….glad you had such a good time!

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