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The Challenges and Blessings of Hospitality

Last week Becky and I had a discussion about, well, a bunch of things, but the one thing that came out of it was an agreement that we needed to be inviting people over more. We enjoy having folks over to share a meal, play games, and hang out, but we do it far too rarely. So we discussed for a while what day would work best for us, (if we want to be consistent, we’re gonna have to pick a day and stick to it), and came up with Sunday evenings. We don’t have any Sunday evening church activities, and, we concluded, but 5 PM on Sunday we’re usually bored anyway and looking for something to do, so why not have folks over for supper? Having thus planned, we invited two couples (+ kids) over, and started preparing for Sunday night.

Now, normally for something like this we’d do a lot of meal preparation and house cleaning on Saturday, leaving us time on Sunday to rest and relax before having visitors. (I do love my Sunday afternoons to crash.) But this past Saturday was a softball tournament that went from first thing in the morning until mid-afternoon, and then left us so tired we had no motivation to start cleaning. “We still have tomorrow to get ready” was our motto.

So Sunday afternoon rolled around and it was time to get ready. So we picked up toys, vacuumed, snapped green beans, made lasagna, did the dishes, put the leaves in the table, and next thing you know, it was 5 PM and our guests were arriving. So much for our theory that “we’re bored by 5 PM anyway…”! 5 PM showed up and we hadn’t sat down all afternoon. Well, not quite true. I sat down to rip a few sermon recordings to mp3 for the church website. But that was it.

We had a great time with our guests last night. We ate plenty of good food, finished up with some to-die-for homemade chocolate-mint ice cream, sat around and swapped stories about growing up in small towns, raising kids, and protecting our homes from late-night marauding insects, and laughed hilariously at this video of Ringo Starr visiting the studio as Andrew Peterson is recording his new album. Look for the cameo appearance by Chris Sligh (formerly of American Idol) and Ringo’s quick wit when Chris declares himself “more of a Paul man”. (Andy Gullahorn is a genius, I tell you! A genius!) Time flew by, and by the time folks were leaving to get kids to bed and prepare for the upcoming week, it was nearing 9 PM. It was a wonderful evening.

Now I know that our guests from last night pretty much all read my blog (hi Roy, Bridget, Dave, and Barb!), so I want to say this up front: we had a great time, and practicing hospitality this way is absolutely something we needed to do and to continue to do. However, yeah, it was a challenge. First of all, we need our Sunday rest, and it was pretty well lacking yesterday. I will also admit to being kinda frustrated yesterday when it became apparent about 3:30 that there was no way we were gonna have time to sit and crash before folks came. So we need to make sure that we use our Saturday more effectively next time. Becky and I also need to make sure that we communicate our expectations well; when I’m thinking and working towards one thing and she’s got something different in mind, and then the time crunch hits, well, it has the opportunity to not be a lot of fun. We’re still learning this communication thing after 9 years of marriage.

What I will conclude from the weekend, though:

We need to continue the hospitality.
Dinners with friends are a lot of fun.
Chocolate-mint ice cream can be really, really good.
We need some time for Sunday rest.
The Cubs still managed to win without me watching them.
Sleep is sweet.

(Oh, and that Andy Gullahorn is a genius.)

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