Monday, March 21, 2011

Healing in Hospitality

It was about four years ago.  One weekend when Ryan was home just briefly from school, his parents invited a small crowd to their house on a Sunday afternoon to eat and play games.  I was looking forward to seeing him again, being with friends, and all of us enjoying the time together.

First, though, I stopped in to visit an elderly friend and one thing led to another -- calling paramedics, going to the hospital, waiting with family, talking and praying.  I called my husband to let him know I would be late for lunch.  Awhile later, I called again to apologize for being exceedingly late.  Then, when it seemed the situation was becoming adequately stable, someone I hadn't seen in years was brought in by ambulance, with family following close behind.

I called again, expressing regret that I would be too late to even show up.  Before he could respond, though, I heard Tahmina's voice in the background kindly commanding me to come, even if just for a short while before returning to the hospital.

And so, eventually, I did.  The roads were truly awful, and it seemed like forever before I showed up at their doorstep, five hours late and feeling like a worn down little beggar child.

There was still a good crowd at the house when I arrived, spread around talking and playing games, filling the home with happy noise.  Mark gave me a hug.  Tahmina called my name from the kitchen.  "Your dinner's just about ready!"  They'd had a pasta bar, and she had been cooking up a fresh plate for me as I drove.  Grantley sat with me and we talked as I ate.  I paused quietly for awhile to decompress.  Those playing games made space for me in their circles.  I couldn't stay long, but when I returned to check in on my elderly friend at the hospital late that night, I felt like I'd been made whole again.

I will be forever grateful for the kind hospitality of good friends, especially on that cold, snowy day four years ago.

"Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with God's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality."  (Romans 12:9-13)

1 comment:

Tahmina said...

Oh I remember that day! There's nothing more powerful than inviting others in or being invited in. Much like how Jesus did with me. Thanks for reminding to always keep my home open!