Stay on good terms with each other, held together by love. Be ready with a meal or a bed when it’s needed. Why, some have extended hospitality to angels without ever knowing it! Hebrews 13:1-2 (The Message)
My husband has the gift of hospitality. He has always considered our home a gift from God Who intended for us to share it with others. We have on occasion housed for short or longer periods of time someone who needed a place to stay and many times entertained friends and family in our home. Our house is the place where both sides of the family gather to celebrate holidays and milestones. It is understood that anyone is welcome: friends, family, in-laws, friends of friends. It is nothing for us to have tables from one end of the living room to the back of the dining room. We fill up the kitchen counters and extra tables with food, eat until we can’t hold another bite and then, go back for dessert. In addition to those special occasions, husband is always ready for smaller gatherings of friends. He particularly likes to invite someone to come with just a few hours notice. “Oh, I’ll just run to the store for some steaks, salad and baked potatoes,” he’ll say. Or, he might decide to put a huge pot of spaghetti sauce to simmer on the stove. At any rate, he forgets that prior to guests arriving, I like to have the house at least cleared enough that they have a place to eat without worrying about the health department arriving any minute to close us down. My Sunday School teacher gave me some advice that has helped keep me from killing myself to get ready. She says to straighten before guests arrive and clean after they leave so you don’t spend your whole time glaring at them if they track dirt on your floor. Still, I do like to make sure that they can’t treat my coffee table as a guest book and leave their names written in the dust. It used to be that I would run around frantically picking up the house while husband, still in his, “It’s just steak and potatoes” mindset lounged around watching television. As I swept, mopped, scrubbed and dusted, I fumed until about thirty minute before guests arrived, I exploded with frustration. Then, he went to open the gate for our guests bewildered about what had just happened while I wrung my hands and plastered a smile on my face. He used to blame it on me, rationalizing that I got “nervous” about entertaining and if I would just learn to relax everything would be okay. Wrong! Over time, we both changed and having company is much easier. I have learned to say sweetly, “Dear, I am starting to get overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. I would appreciate some help.” He has learned to immediately stop what he is doing and say, “What would you like me to do.” And then, he goes and does it. Sometimes, better than I would. Figuring out he couldn’t read my mind combined with husband developing some consideration. We’ve come a long way in almost thirty years!