To Those that Send Me… {The Grove – Hospitality}

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.

We will miss you Wheelers

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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Photo Credit: gifrancis via Compfight cc

7 Comments

  1. Beth June 19, 2014

    Beautiful words, Danielle! What a wonderful way to think about hospitality, first from the receiving end, from those who have lavished warmth and generosity on us! I am very grateful for those “back home” who have given so much to us while we are there for a visit – paid for vehicles, paid for meals, paid for a place to sleep and call our own for a short while, spending money, gifts, gatherings, conversations … such a blessing. Heart Refreshment and Soul Fuel for our return to far away places.
    One of the gifts given to me by our home church was about 20 hand-made picture frames made by some of the ladies of our church. I brought them back and after adding a group photo, gave them as gifts to the moms and kids who gather in our home each week for a playgroup to share our toys, books, snacks and time. Such a joy to be blessed in this way, both in the receiving and giving.  And of course I kept a couple picture frames for myself, to remind me of the friends both here and there, and how generosity and hospitality have linked them together.

  2. Danielle Wheeler June 19, 2014

    These are beautiful!  And yes, the hospitality that is shown to us by friends and family when we return continually blows me away.  Heart Refreshment and Soul Fuel is exactly what it is!!

  3. Elizabeth June 19, 2014

    This is so beautiful and not what I expected at all! Focusing not on ourselves and needing to “do hospitality better” but being thankful for those who have been hospitable with us. Yes! So many who have let us sleep in their houses, and lent us cars, and fed us food, and listened to our stories, and loved us, and made us laugh. Sometimes I think they don’t realize how much they help.

    1. Danielle Wheeler June 20, 2014

      Haha.  It honestly wasn’t what I was expecting to write!  But there has been such rich writing and conversations through this week’s posts about doing hospitality, that I didn’t have much to add!  And honestly, being on the receiving end is what has taught me hospitality.  You’re right, I don’t think they all know how much their help means to us.

  4. Anisha June 21, 2014

    So right, the people who sent us love us very well. I’m sharing this post on Facebook, you’ve written my heart!

  5. Jennifer June 21, 2014

    Hospitality is a gift, both to give and to receive, and I am slowly learning that often we actually do both at the same time. There is somehow a sense that when I freely give hospitality to you, and you receive it, accept it, you also give me a gift. It is definitely not in any way a one way relationship, me giving to you, in giving I also receive. Sometimes my eyes are closed and I do not see what you give me, but when my eyes are open I do see. Your acceptance of me, in accepting what I give, the building of a friendship, the gift of a smile, the learning and sharing, the challenging of preconceived ideas, the getting to know, the simple gift of time. May we simply always be open both to give and to receive, as we give the gift of hospitality to others.

    1. Elizabeth June 22, 2014

      This is so true! When we have people in our homes, they bless us, and our friends in America tell us that when we visit them, they feel blessed. Even though both times, the people saying they are blessed are the ones offering the hospitality. So I think you’re right, it is mutual. 🙂

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