My mom is a woman who’s been through a lot of trials in her 53 years of life. We’ve bumped heads as we are similar in many ways, but we have also laughed, cried & encouraged one another through some pretty hard patches. And through our similarities there are of course the differences we hold. I (as you know) love love love to bake and love love to cook (bake is higher on the list), but my mom not so much. My mom love love loves to talk on the phone, and actually I’m not the biggest fan. I know she would say how I raise my girls, love my husband and tend to household duties is completely opposite to how she did those things when she was my age.
And although she didn’t necessarily teach me how to organize like Martha Stewart would have to her daughter (thank God), I would say my mom gave me gifts through her actions (those that surpass magazine covers or tangible sensibilities in Better Home & Garden magazines). Instead, she taught me what hospitality looked like (even though I didn’t know it was called that). Because my mom wasn’t the (and isn’t) type to say, “see, what I’m doing is called this…(fill in the blank).” She was simplistic in her love and grace to others (she’d probably disagree being hard on herself and call herself judgmental, but she always asked us kids for forgiveness when she was in the wrong).
I can recall my mom being the only parent who welcomed in kids to our home who were unwelcome in other “church” families’ homes. She had/has the knack of befriending just about anyone and “the least of these” are drawn to my mother. She loves without pretense and gives the benefit of the doubt. It’s the people who most of society, if they were honest with themselves, wouldn’t really want to hang out with or associate with. It’s what some might call ‘white trash, Walmart shopping, trailer park residing, welfare living, food stamp eating’ sort of people. I’m thankful for her goodness as she loves like Jesus, while providing me an example of how to love. She is so good about this and I find it to be a virtuous trait.
Christine Pohl, author of Making Room wrote:
Followers of Christ should offer a generous welcome to “the least of these,” without concern for advantage or benefit to the host. Because hospitality is a way of life, it must be cultivated over a lifetime. We do not become good at hospitality in an instant; we learn it in small increments of daily faithfulness. Hospitality is difficult because it involves hard work. People wear out and struggle with limits. Our society places a high value on control, planning, and efficiency, but hospitality is unpredictable and often inefficient. We insist on measurable results and completed tasks, but the results of hospitality are impossible to quantify and the work of hospitality is rarely finished.
One thing I think Pohl left out was, “Hospitality is messy.” It’s untamable, much like Aslan being described in the Chronicles of Narnia (who is the Christ figure in the series). We cannot guarantee that we will love every minute. We cannot control who it is that we are being called to show hospitality to in reality. And this is why hospitality is not entertainment. It’s not about having matching silverware and placemats, a fancy meal, or the best home to showcase it all in. That’s what Fine Living would tell you, but it’s the picture Jesus painted in his parable of having a fine feast inviting all the finest people in the land. However, none of them came. So the host went out & invited the ‘least of these’ from the streets to wine & dine at his feast (juxtaposition). He took any focus off himself to lavish it upon his guests. Making them the star.
So I ask myself (and my family), ‘how do we live in juxtaposition?’ I choose messy & unfinished, much like parenting right:) What do you do to live in juxtaposition? live in the messy & unfinished (‘rarely finished’)?