When this Corona Virus quarantine is finally over, I hope we’ll begin our new old life again with inspired ideas under our belts. I hope we’ll gather friends under the same roof, keenly realizing our need for each other. Perhaps you’ve been thinking for ages about inviting someone to your home. After our isolation, we’ll have opportunities to feed people physically, emotionally and spiritually. I believe people will wonder about the hope that Christians have in Jesus. I pray our eyes will be open to the world and our neighbors in new ways.
To make sure you know hospitality isn’t about perfection, here are some of the funny, heartwarming and awful things that have shown up in my journey. Laugh with me and realize that doing stupid things or lacking what you may call the “gift of hospitality” does not disqualify you from utilizing this great tool to connect with people.
The Mug Shot
It began during a Sunday morning church service. A heartbreaking story from a young woman in a wheelchair resulted in her moving into our home. We made her feel welcome, fed her, listened to her stories and offered her a bed with fresh sheets. After a few days things got fishy. We heard from friends who’d seen her walk around unaided. “A friend” picked her up from our house. After she left, we found our salt and pepper shakers and various kitchen items under the guest bed. Months later her “mug shot” appeared in the newspaper. #suckers
I like to use candles to add warmth to our home. When the lighting is dim and candles are lit, people can’t see dust and other signs of undone chores.
When you light a candle, ask yourself if anything could possibly catch fire. Once I caught a basket on fire because the candle was too near the handle. It was one of the dumbest things I’ve done. I was quite young at the time.
On another occasion, right before friends arrived, my husband Tom lit all the candles. He came to a couple that flatly refused to light. Not one to give up, Tom persevered and finally lit them. Soon after, they exploded, which sent plastic shards into the ceiling and almost caught the house on fire. Repairs were later made by the perpetrator. Lesson learned. Don’t light battery powered candles with a match.
There was Something Missing in the Chicken Pot Pie
Once we hosted a variety of people who were in town for a special event. I’d worked so hard to prepare ahead and juggle all the schedules. We finally sat down to bite into a delicious chicken pot pie I’d slaved over. I even added cheese to the pastry crust. As I took the first few bites I slumped down into my seat, disheartened, as I realized all the chicken I’d cooked did not make it into the pie. I was so disappointed, but no one starved. After that, I learned to make a menu and check the fridge for things I may have forgotten.
Broken Windows and Fires
I won’t mention names, but on occasion there were windows broken while young people played in the back yard. When you open your home you just have to realize things happen. The culprit also burned a hole in the tablecloth (outside). I guess I have a problem with candles. We’re still friends with that culprit, though.
Greeting Guests With a Vacuum
I confess, I don’t have the best concept of time. I always think I can get more done than is actually possible. Something I did more often than I want to admit was to greet folks at the door with the vacuum running. Though not intentional, I do think my shortcomings make people feel more relaxed and hopefully they’ll open their doors to others, also.
The Messy Storage Guest Room
The most heartwarming memory I have of imperfect hospitality is the story of our dear friend’s young daughter. She came with her mom and to visit us in Wilmington. We welcomed them, of course, but I had to apologize for the condition of our guest room. Because of a flood and subsequent floor work, we’d moved a room full of stuff to the guest room upstairs. I felt so bad but couldn’t do anything about it. Later, after they were settled for the night, I went to their room. You should have seen it. That sweet girl used all the pillows, accessories and things stored in the room and designed her own little cozy space. I truly wish I had a picture. Her creative flair inspired me and reminded me again that a warm spot to rest doesn’t require perfection.
Word to the wise: If you’ve lost your bandaid, figure out where it is. See my funny embarrassing post at A Family Gathering and Our Favorite Bread Recipe .
Hair in the Food
I’m human and I have hair and everyone is getting free food. No explanation needed.
Would you believe I have even more crazy stories? I could tell you about the spatula that got caught in the blender while prepping for a fancy French luncheon. Or the very dirty bathroom that was supposed to be off limits and then the bride, the guest of honor, actually used it! Or the host (me) who hurriedly dressed very casually for a formal tea party because she didn’t take time to plan an outfit. And all the guests wore their best hats and frocks. But, enough for now…
I’ve focused on negative and humorous scenarios; but remember there are people like me who’ve been profoundly affected by someone’s hospitality. We may never know how we’ve impacted someone. Hospitality like so many other things, is a step of obedience in faith.
Fun?great way to DEMYSTIFY the COMPLICATIONS of HOSPITALITY ! Love The humOr!!
Thank you Cynthia!
Inspiring! You are my hero/example in this area of ministry!
Ahhhh…. you made my day, Jean, even though I’m seeing this a year later!