Monday, July 26, 2010

This is hospitality, Part Two

Today as I've gone about my morning business I've been pondering the hospitality that was showered upon my family this weekend. I decided to think of all the reasons impromptu hospitality was easier for that woman than it is for me.

1. She has a big house; my house is tiny.

This is true. But everyone pretty much stayed in two places: the kitchen and the dining room. Some of us went to the front porch for a while. But mostly we were in those two rooms all the time. The rest of the large house was empty.

2. Her dining room table can seat 12 people; my kitchen table can seat just 6, or maybe 8 if some are little.

True again. But I have a couch and chairs and side tables and folding tables so we could - and have - fit more than 12 in the living room.

3. She has a covered porch; I just have a deck.

Contrary to what I want to believe, a covered porch is not a necessity of life, or of hospitality.

4. She had food; I never have food.

It is true that she somehow serendipitously had a lot of food available: leftover pork chops, some cooked (unfrozen) shrimp, fresh salad makings. Not everyone is going to have that. But will most people have a box of pasta, tomatoes in some form, some cheese? Is there fruit around? I've been served canned peaches at someone's home, and enjoyed it. Why do I feel that's not good enough to serve at my house?

I thought about what I could have offered. I have a lot of meat in the freezer, but most meat takes a long time to defrost. But a pound of ground beef can be defrosted and browned quickly. Hm, there's almost always some frozen cooked chicken or pork or even steak to be found. Tortillas (corn and flour) are a staple in my fridge, and here in Chez Fromage there is always cheese. I never allow myself to run out of canned refried beans. Most of the time there is salsa, but not always chips.... corn tortillas can be cut up and baked in 10 minutes or so to make chips. I have onions and, usually, red bell peppers in either the freezer or the fridge. Those can be quickly sauteed.

Sounds like a Mexican fiesta, doesn't it?

Dessert? There's usually ice cream. Frozen blueberries all year long. Oatmeal, brown sugar, butter, flour... sounds like blueberry crisp. We're good to go.

Here's the other thing about food: I truly believe that when hospitality is offered from the heart, and not out of a feeling of obligation, God will provide the food. I've seen it happen many times. I've seen it happen in my own home, but I always choose to forget that. It is not a coincidence.

5. Here is the big one: her house was neat. Mine is not.

Well. What can we do about that? I will note that I was not given a house tour and did not see the "private" areas of the house. Maybe all the piles of books and papers were upstairs. I'll assume that they were; it makes me feel better.

So, now I've knocked down all the excuses I can come up with. What are yours?


Kerri said...

I get stage fright at hospitality. I think "next week I'll ask so and so." and I'll walk around thinking watching the target and then I think "Oh, well she's talking to so and so, I'll get to it in a few, Oh the baby needs changing, oh, I'll ask her when I get back.." and pretty soon the morning has gone by and I've worked out of it again. I tell my kids to ask now because THEY will do it!

Maria said...

My creativity and a messy house recover when hospitality comes from the heart...and my social anxiety, as well! Trusting that God will provide also helps. These mindsets take great mental effort for me! I need to work on quick-thinking...Thanks for the thoughts!