To get my juices flowing for this post on “Hospitality,” I looked up the word in the dictionary. Original idea, I know. Here’s what one of the definitions said: “Hospitality is to treat others with warmth and generosity.” Those words triggered a rush of memories and a flash of faces, faces that are to me the definition of warmth and generosity. So this post goes out to those people. You know who you are…
I didn’t know that I’d need you like I do.
I didn’t know how much your prayers and send-offs would bolster my soul.
I never knew that I’d only ever be able to go and serve the world because I was first served by you.
When you showed up at the church, arms ladened with food and pretty things, to send us off in style, I didn’t know how much it would mean to me.
When you set up tables in the early morning hours and sold your things for me, I didn’t know that I would crumble when you handed me wads of cash.
When you gave me pictures, cards and light-weight gifts, when you scratched “We’ll miss you!” on chalkboards, I didn’t know it’d melt me right through.
When you laid hands on me, spoke bold and tearful prayers for me, I didn’t know the power of that would carry me through.
I didn’t know you’d mourn the hole left by me, that I’d leave you there grieving while I set off into the wild blue yonder.
I didn’t know there’d be so many days I’d sink down, feeling not enough for this life, this work. I didn’t know that he’d use your faith in me to pick me up again.
I didn’t know that when I am back, your wide open arms would feel like home.
I didn’t know how good it’d taste to circle round a table with you again. To feast on laughter and stories and tears.
I didn’t know how I’d be humble again and again by your sacrifice for me, that year after year you’d say, “We believe in you still.”
I hoped that “All I have needed Thy hand would provide,” I just didn’t know that you would be that hand.
If hospitality is to treat others with warmth and generosity, then I can be hospitable here in this corner of the world because you first pressed your warmth and generosity into me.
I can lavish them, because you lavish me.
What have your senders meant to you? What has been your journey with hospitality overseas?
Come share your heart, your words, your art on our prompt “Hospitality.”
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