Friday, November 2, 2007

Guess who's coming to dinner

Heart Way Friday
A friend of a friend's daughter lost her room mates at semester break - they dropped out of school. Now she was stuck with an apartment she could not afford. A gracious landlord agreed to let her out of the lease early, but she needed a place to live for her last semester before graduation.

That's how we came to know Kim. Our children were now out of the house. We had a couple of spare bedrooms not being used. It would only be for one semester. What would it be like to have a stranger living with us? Could we handle it? Could she?

She made a monthly contribution to the household budget; she did her own laundry and such; she pretty much kept to herself. Her last semester was very busy. Occasionally she would join us for a meal. She graduated and moved on. We all survived...and we felt we had provided her with the break she needed to keep her life in order as she finished her last semester of college.

Hospitality can be a tremendous gift - sometimes we give it, and sometimes we need it.

'Click' on the > above and see if it speaks to your heart.
ow can we extend hospitality to others? I'm sure there are ways that don't necessarily mean having someone move in. What things might we do? What kinds of hospitality have you given? ... or received?


Melody K said...

One way in which we can extend hospitality to others is to feed the sick and bereaved. I'm sure we've all taken a casserole or a pie to a family which has experienced a death; knowing that cooking for visiting relatives would just be one more stress they didn't need. I have taken chicken soup to sick neighbors, and it was always appreciated.
A friend of ours who has a large family had serious surgery. Of course these days, even for a major thing, they dismiss you from the hospital within 2 or 3 days. So her friends from church signed up to bring in meals each day for a couple of weeks. Many parishes have a ministry set up to take food to families in situations like this. (It is a good idea to check and see if there are any dietary restrictions for people who have been ill.)
I am better at doing something like this than at entertaining others at our house (unlike my Mom, who must have been a closet Benedictine!). Mainly because I am bad at cleaning house. Which is why I am home from work today. Our son and his wife are coming to visit tomorrow, and the place is such a pit that I had to take a vacation day to get it halfway decent. So I'd better quit messing around and get busy.

uncle jim said...

Your Benedictine remark strikes home. My nephew, Dennis, who comments here occasionally, is attending a seminary in St Meinrad, IN run by Benedictines - and they have a mini hotel there for guests pilgrims and travelers ... all for the price of a donation [if able]. I'm in southern IL as I write this, en route to Memphis, TN for his transitional diaconate ordination on Saturday.

Your taking of food to other families in need is certainly a wonderful way to be hospitable.

Sheila said...

I love this video clip - reminds me of the Catholic Worker spirit: he needs a place to stay, well OK, he can stay with us.

I think one way to be hospitable is to welcome people into shared work. This past spring I stayed at my sister's house for the week before her daughter's wedding and helped out any way I could. Of course I had a comfortable bed to sleep in and good food to eat while I was there, but what made me feel more welcome than anything - less like a guest, more like a part of the household - was being given errands to do, like early-morning runs to Wal-Mart, and about a dozen trips in between the house and the church.