Reluctant Hospitality

Once upon a time, I was young.

I had all the degrees I wanted and a job with a good salary.

I was done travelling the world to find myself, and I was ready to put down roots.

So I bought a condo.

With two bedrooms and an “extra” sunroom, it felt just right.

I bought it from a couple with a toddler and another kid on the way.

And I thought at the time, “oh this will be perfect until I have two kids.”

I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I imagined that I might do this in a more traditional way.

But really, I think I figured that meant, “it will be perfect forever.”

It’s hard to think ten years out when you are young.

Introvert that I am, I loved having my own space.  I still do.

But I knew when I bought it, that it wasn’t just for me.

It almost felt like a divine imperative.

Share with God’s people who are in need.  Practice hospitality.

(Romans 12:13)

My mom is the best hostess.  And my sister.

They are in their element with a crowd gathered around their table, chowing down on a delicious home-cooked meal.

I guess this is what I was imagining.

But I don’t really like to cook.

Or hang out in crowds at all.

And yet, in this season of affirmation, I am reminded of my own reluctant hospitality.

Over the past five years, my home has been “home” (for a few nights, a few weeks or forever) to five sweet babies that I love dearly.

It has been laid bare to countless resource home workers, children’s case workers, interns, CASA volunteers, transporters, lawyers, fire marshalls and health department inspectors.

I haven’t always welcomed this latter group with unabashed joy.

Really, I’m not sure that’s a thing.

Honestly, I’ve been surprised at how much it’s felt like an invasion of my privacy.

Maybe that’s the practice part of practicing hospitality.

But here’s what I know.

Five babies knew love and safety and songs about Jesus inside these walls.

And lots of other people got to see love walked out here.

Whether masquerading as snuggles or time-outs or a half-crazed mama insistent on the best for her babies, they got to see love.

I feel like I’m heading into a new season of life.

Maybe there will be potlucks.

Or maybe just conversation over a cup of decaf (I still don’t like crowds much).

But I want to keep practicing hospitality.

However that might look.

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