It’s a good thing….
Say that with a certain lilt in your voice, and everyone knows who you are talking about. I’m sure that there is a lot of cool stuff to learn and buy from that someone, but right now I’m thinking about how many obstacles seem to be placed in the way of having people in each other’s homes.
Hospitality. People have told me that I have the gift of hospitality. I receive that blessing, but I don’t accept the distance that it seems to put between my lifestyle and others.
I have had people tell me they couldn’t do what I do. All I do is make coffee (well, usually Marc makes it). Sometimes I add chili (not to the coffee – eew!) The hardest part of ‘hospitality’ is moving outside of myself long enough to make a phone call or send an email “Want to come over?” Honestly. That is the hardest part for me. Every time I need to pick up the phone I am momentarily seized with anxiety. Push through, call. Done.
But what I hear when people talk about how we have people over is how they aren’t as neat as me, or as organized as me, or as creative in the kitchen as me (I’m not creative, I’m comfortable and broke, so I use what I have on hand.)
There are so many obstacles to being hospitable it seems, from the cooking channel to TLC, to rows and rows of cookbooks, to theme parties, to “it’s a good thing”. It’s become an industry to ‘entertain’ people, to have a dinner party, to cook a meal.
But it’s not meant to be that way. It’s meant to be “I’ve got some fish, you’ve got some bread.” Let’s gather around that and see what happens. It’s not about setting or food, it’s the gathering. And that’s not a gift or personality trait.
It’s really not a gift of hospitality… it’s a heart cry. It’s just as much about my wanting to be part of you, as it is my inviting you to be a part of me. It’s a note passed secretly across the homeroom “I like you. Do you like me? Circle one.”
I can’t accept that we are meant to live our busy lives bumping into each other’s force fields. I can’t and I won’t. A human life is meaningless if it doesn’t becomed entangled in other’s. It’s neater and easier, but where does it go?
I am a highly, highly introverted person. People tire me out, and I love solitude. I am not just an extrovert looking for the next rush of people to come through the door and jazz me up (that’s Marc). But I don’t want to miss out on the opportunity that being with people in community, around a table or a mug, gives us. An opportunity to love, laugh, challenge, get angry, and grow. There is no way to hot-house the growth that comes from being with people. So even though I might rather not, I would even more rather not be who I am today when I turn 50 with the same ideas and outlook on life, not having had to give or take to or from the lives around me.
Please don’t watch me and say ‘oh, she’s got a gift’ and choose to not try it yourself. How will you know, until you try? If it is a ‘gift’ I happen to know the Giver has more to give out, and as far as I can tell He is all about His people living in community with one another.