Sunday, January 21, 2024

Practice Hospitality

A couple of days ago, I got a text from a cousin. She was going to be in town and wanted to stop by for a visit. I was tickled she wanted to come see me and asked if she needed a place to stay for the night. Gratefully, she accepted my invitation. 

I worked hard to make sure her room was spic and span. I washed all the bedding, vacuumed the rug, dusted, and straightened all the knick knacks. I wanted her to feel welcomed. 

Wanting to do a little more, I ran to the store to gather things to make a nice gift bag for her. I tried to think of things that might be helpful while she was here. 

Strolling up and down the aisle of Hobby Lobby, I found cute things I thought she'd like. One by one I slipped them in my cart along with a pretty gift bag, a card, and some tissue paper. 

When I got home, I assembled the gift bag and placed it on the center of the bed in the guest room. I stood back and looked at it. I hoped she'd like it. 

The day of her arrival, I made a huge pot of vegetable soup and some homemade beer bread. It's been extremely cold outside, and I thought she might like a hot meal that stuck to the bones. As I cut and prepared the vegetables, I thought about special memories we'd shared since childhood. I'd always thought of her as a little sister. 

A text later in the day gave me her ETA. I was excited to see her but nervous, too. We don't have visitors often but when we do, they're usually relatives and relatives are more forgiving of my lack of hospitality skills. 

I did my best to help her feel at home. We had a nice visit and I think things went pretty well until this morning. I'd gotten up early to prepare a nice breakfast. I tried to be quiet because she was still sleeping, and I didn't want to wake her. 

I prayed, when I popped open the can of Grands Biscuits, that the sound wouldn't startle her. Working quickly, I slipped them in the oven, cracked the eggs, and sliced up the sausage. When the biscuits were done, I began cooking the other things. Then, I set the table, poured a bowl of fresh fruit and waited for everyone to rise. 

When my husband and guest were up, we sat down to eat. I had one last thing to put on the table and got up to get a bowl from my China cabinet. As I opened the glass door and pulled out the China bowl, somehow it slipped crashing into a China soup tureen and slicing open my finger. My cousin jumped up quickly to help with the mess while I ran to the sink to keep blood off the floor. What a fiasco, I thought! Here I am supposedly entertaining my guest and what do I do but show off my klutzy side. No wonder the Bible says practice hospitality! I need a lot of practice... Thankfully, she was gracious and understanding, never once mentioning my faux pas.  

After the incident, we sat down and enjoyed a nice meal, good conversation, and couple of rounds of laughter. 

I'm so glad she knows me well and knows I'm accident prone. I hate that I broke my China but more than that, I hate that she was the one to clean up the mess while I worked to take care of my injury. 

Love is a wonderful and complicated thing. If I hadn't loved her, I wouldn't have invited her to come stay with me. If she hadn't loved me, she wouldn't have accepted my offer and helped clean up my mess. 

The cut is still throbbing, and I feel embarrassed that things weren't perfect today, but I'm trying to give myself grace. They say practice makes perfect. Maybe one day, I'll attain that goal. Or maybe not! 

Scripture references: 

Romans 12:13: Share with the saints who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Hebrews 13:2: Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Isaiah 58:7: Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

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