6/7/07

Hand in Hand

My neighbor, Virginia, sent me a beautiful card this week after she attended my Salad Social along with other neighbors. The card read:

Hospitality:
The art of making others feel welcome, comfortable and at home.
The ability to go out of your way for your guests.
The talent for spreading warmth and kindness that will be remembered always.

I think back to my Commandment #1: Hospitality is not only a gift I have but a gift I give. Be passionate about it! (You can click on Commandment #1 if you want to read more about it.)

How can you be passionate about something you feel you are totally inept at, you ask yourself? For some women like myself, hospitality is as natural as breathing (which I learned from my mother). For others, the practice must be acquired. And for all of us, it must be nurtured. When used, it really can become a channel for some amazing experiences.

We have the incredible Rachael Ray. We have extraordinary Emeril, with his remarkable cooking shows. We have enlightening talk shows. But who is teaching American mom’s about hospitality?

It’s not all about cooking, table settings and recipes. It goes deeper into a person’s soul as they long to feel valued and wanted as a friend.

I read an excerpt this week written by Chuck Swindoll, from his Dropping Your Guard book. It goes so well with this post.

It is only when I share life’s experiences with others that I can enjoy them or endure them to the greatest advantage. You see, having a relationship calls for being in fellowship with others, and that cannot be done very easily at arm’s length. It implies getting in touch, feeling the hurts, being an instrument of encouragement and healing. Fences must come down. Masks need to come off. Welcome signs need to be hung outside the door. Keys to the locks in our lives must be duplicated and distributed. Bridges need to be lowered that allow others to cross the moat and then share our joys and our sorrows.

Paul and I have experienced this many times around our table. We are always amazed at how God works through food, conversation, authenticity and laughter. (Another powerful story is included in Commandment #5, about 1/2 way down through the post.)

I have opened my door so I can walk hand in hand with my neighbors. Receiving this card from Virginia confirms it.

13 comments:

Nadine said...

Excellent post Sandy. I agree totally. Hospitality goes much deeper than serving a meal. Thank you for sharing.

Org Junkie said...

What a beautiful card. That would be so nice framed wouldn't it.

I have never thought of hospitality this way, I love how you get me to think outside of my box.

Laura

Rhoda said...

Sandy, how great that you got a wonderful card from your neighbor. I think people want to be more social & known, it's just hard to get past the walls that are up these days. I love your attitude & way of looking at things & I wish we could change the way people think to be more hospitable with each other.

God bless you!
Rhoda

Barb said...

I think that's just it--remembering to think of others, and how they're feeling and what they need. Hospitality can mean big sparkling dinners and well-populated parties. But it can also mean inviting a co-worker to your home for lunch at the last minute, and getting a glass of water or popsicle for an individual working on your home on a hot day. A hospitable attitude toward others is what really matters.

momrn2 said...

What a beautiful post! The phrase that really got me was this: "Keys to the locks in our lives must be duplicated and distributed."

WOW! Now that is a thought to think on and ponder. That is not always easy and sometimes very scary... but oh how necessary!

Thanks for this thought and giving something for my brain and heart to chew on!

Becca said...

I'm really enjoying your posts and the excerpts you're sharing with us, Sandy. Thanks for taking the time to encourage us.

~~ Lily ~~ said...

Sandy,

I just found your blog not too long ago via another blog, though I can't remember whose blog it was. In the last week or so, what I found here is so wonderful, that now you are on the sidebar of my blog, and I've recommended you to friends! As of late, God's been impressing upon me the verses about hospitality and I am really feeling the pull. Also - great timing - we are moving to another state... so I'll have all these new people to get to know, lol. Thank you for teaching and encouraging me! You can bet I'll be here OFTEN.

Sue said...

So true! Thanks so much for ministering about this lost gift.

Gracious Acres said...

Sandy,
I just heard you and Paul on Focus on the Family. Thank you for sharing your ministries with us; you are so inspirational!

Anna said...

You're right; hospitality isn't all about the cooking, place settings, and recipes - I think we allow those things to get in the way...thinking we have to have something to show to invite others into our home. But really, allowing others to experience our homelife as it is makes the fellowship more relaxed. I believe this to be true, but I need to get over my own inhibitions.

Joy said...

What a lovely sentiment!

p.s wish I was your neighbor :)

Jenster said...

That card is lovely. We love it when people come and hang out with us. Sometimes we just order a pizza and other times I actually cook. But it doesn't seem to matter - it's the fellowship that's so great.

Our big thing lately has been taking care of the younger folks (like we're so old.) The youth minister and his wife don't have any family nearby. The youth band leader just graduated from college and doesn't have any family nearby. And another couple (not officially until September, lol) have adopted us as parents/friends because neither one of them had a good home life and are getting to see what a good marriage and family life is like. These "kids" have taught me more about hospitality and what a blessing it is when you're the one giving it.

Thanks for your encouraging blog!!

GiBee said...

Amen, amen, amen!!!

That's what came across my mind when I read the following paragraph:

"It’s not all about cooking, table settings and recipes. It goes deeper into a person’s soul as they long to feel valued and wanted as a friend."

That is exactly what my mom taught me when growing up... she would say things like: "make your guests feel like they are the most important person in the world to you -- show that you care for them so much that you went the extra mile for them."