Hospitality – A Gift

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

Hospitality – A Gift

We often look at hospitality as a gift. One we give to others. But it can go both ways. The other evening at church the Pastor was talking about the importance of showing hospitality. He spoke of the challenge of not letting our own plans get in the way.

 

My husband and I both love having company come. We really do. I think hospitality is one of our gifts. But, that night the word made me anxious. You see, we had a friend call and she wanted to come spend the weekend. I was delighted she was coming. But, I was a bit stressed since we were/are in the middle of a major “turn everything upside down organizational push” at our house and you know how we women can be.

messy house

 

As I thought of hospitality, I realized I had seen a good deal of it just this summer. In May we planned to visit Rapid City for a couple of weeks. Our hosts and dear friends were gracious and excited about our visit. We had a busy schedule planned. Then, my daddy suffered a stroke and we left early for South Dakota. Once there, we decided we would stay two weeks and leave. But, then we would miss my nephew and niece’s graduation, the original purpose for our visit. We didn’t want to do that. But, staying two weeks with friends is a big deal. Three weeks? That’s a lot to ask.

 

But, not for these friends. They were gracious. They said it hadn’t been bad at all having us there. They let us know they didn’t mind. And they meant it, we could tell. What a gift.

 

When I went to Hayesville for the book event in July a friend of a friend opened her lovely home to me. Because of my two night stay I now have a new friend. One who knows what hospitality truly is.

 

Two weeks ago we visited a home that has become dear to me. I have visited the Clark’s many times over the past 24 years. Every time I pull into their driveway and enter their house a sense of peace descends. This family has perfected the art of hospitality. They could teach graduate classes on the subject. They could write the book.

Us with Mom and Dad Clark

When we arrived, the Clark’s were still at a VBS event. “Just go on in,” they said. We grabbed our bags out of the trunk and climbed the steps to the back step. When we walked through the door into “The Room That Richard Built” we were welcomed by the huge dining room table. I heard it say, “Let’s play a table game.” I turned and looked at my husband who had never visited this home. The look on his face said it all. It was peace. It was delight. It was comfort. They had him from the get-go.

 

The next morning Mom Clark took us out and showed us around the yard. She told us the stories behind many of the plants in the yard, the garden, even the sheds. She explained how they bought this home when they married fifty years ago.

 

Since that time they have welcomed hundreds, probably thousands of people into their home. When I told them I hoped to see my cousin’s daughter while I was there, they insisted I invite her family over Sunday evening. It was a very precious time.

Lumpkins

So when the Pastor spoke about hospitality. I knew this lesson was for me, if no one else. I said, yes to hospitality that night.

 

And that weekend, when our friend came?  It was a perfect weekend. Memories were made. Relationships were solidified. I was blessed. And the not so perfect house? It turns out it didn’t matter one little bit. It turned out that I was the one who received the gift. The gift from hospitality.