Yes to Hospitality
I made crockpot beef stew, a big green salad, and the banana cake was provided by my mother. It wasn’t a fancy meal by any means, but it was nourishing and plentiful. I set the table, lit the candles, played soft music, and welcomed guests into our home. We laughed, told stories, gave life updates, and lingered over our decaf coffee until the evening wound down around 9:00 pm. This morning, I feel so grateful for that opportunity to create some beauty and connection on a random Monday. It was a deeply fulfilling experience. The highlight of my week.
I want more of that.
In her book “Hospitality for Healing”, Melissa Naasko writes that “people have an inherent need for hospitality; we both deeply want to offer it and crave it in our times of need. It is the relationship that binds our human frailty and ties us together, creating bonds that will extend past the time we are together.”
So what stands in the way of frequently offering that hospitality that is so needed and so healing for all involved? I know for myself, it’s perfectionism, distraction, and a lack of intentionality. As with many things that are truly good for us, there is an initial resistance to overcome- a temptation to let that spark of desire for stretching ourselves in a salvific way to be immediately snuffed out. “Maybe next month”, I’ll think, “when things slow down, or when the house is cleaner…” And the longer I procrastinate, the harder it all feels.
Consistency is key when it comes to developing new (or reviving old) uplifting habits. Months ago, for example, we volunteered to host catechism class at our house on Wednesday evenings, and for those first couple of weeks I fretted and overthought and tired myself out with lofty expectations. Finally, three weeks in or so, I relaxed into it and now the familiar rhythm of regularly opening our living room to our parish family does not stress me out at all. I look forward to it. Getting together outside of services or coffee hour has deepened our relationships, and my own faith.
When I submit to that first small act of obedience to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, and feel the light of that decision enliven my weary spirit, momentum is built and the holy work at hand begins to feel less daunting. It is very possible to grow in fruitfulness and joy, one small and prayerful “yes” at a time.
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