Since returning from our recent nomadic venturing, I’ve been mulling over the exceptional hospitality that my family was repeatedly shown by those who opened their homes to us.
Y’all, I just have the most amazing friends– friends who truly went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and welcome under their roofs. There’s just something sacred about sharing space. I have many times stated (and this could surely be peppered by my past-life in real-estate) that you don’t really know someone until you see where they live.
Shane Claiborne, a radical Christian author whom I admire, will decline even the most prestigious and lucrative of speaking invitations if the host requesting his presence insists on putting him up in a hotel versus their own home. Kinda crazy, but kinda cool, right?
For myself, I’m a recovering Monica (ala Courtney Cox, of Friends sitcom fame), guilty of meticulously over-planning each detail of every opportunity I’ve had to entertain guests. A few years back, my friend Vanessa shared what God had revealed to her on the subject (to two different groups that I was a part of– He made sure I heard the message twice!) and I began to comprehend in earnest the true spirit of hospitality.
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9
“We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.” 3 John 1:8
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
Husband and I are unabashed Wes Anderson film Fanboys. His latest cinematic masterpiece, The Grand Budapest Hotel is no exception to his signature quirky and visually vibrant story-telling. The tale is essentially about hospitality! My favorite scene details the duties of a humble lobby boy in training by the ever-hospitable concierge of the renowned hotel:
“What is a lobby boy? A lobby boy is completely invisible, yet always in sight. A lobby boy remembers what people hate. A lobby boy anticipates the client’s needs before the needs are needed. A lobby boy is above all discreet to a fault. Our guests know that their secrets, some of which are rather unseemly, will go with us to our graves.”
While that extreme is probably inappropriate for hosting guests in your own home, I appreciate the sentiment behind it… Instead of rigidly dictating how and where guests will eat, sit, sleep, play, and visit (and repeat), instead provide an inviting pace that allows them to relax and enjoy in genuine freedom and comfort, apart even from the host.
Thanks, once again, to our gracious hosts in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana… you know who you are.