Everyone has a story to share, though I didn’t always realize it.
There was a time when I hid in my house behind locked doors, blind to the happenings of others.
Out of shame for my own story.
Shame for certain things in my life that I preferred to keep hidden.
“Yes, remaining hidden would be best,” I thought.
One day something surprising happened that helped me understand the importance of extending hospitality to others.
EXTENDING HOSPITALITY TO THE ONE
On this particular day, a simple but direct thought penetrated my mind with little warning.
I felt that I should invite someone over for dinner.
This thought startled me, as I had never invited anyone into our home to join us for dinner.
Who could I possibly invite?
Who might accept my invitation?
Within seconds, the answer came.
There was a young family at church who had a child the same age as ours.
I would invite them.
I would somehow build up the courage to invite them into our home.
But what would I feed them?
This is always the dreaded question, isn’t it?!
Again, the answer came immediately.
Tacos are simple.
Tacos are well-liked.
I would make tacos for dinner.
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A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
And that’s exactly what happened.
One day after church I nervously approached the family and asked if they would like to join us for dinner.
They said yes, with a smile, and with excitement in their eyes.
I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
Later that week, after cleaning, and plotting, and preparing, we welcomed our neighbors into our home.
We sat around our small, bachelor-style kitchen table, ate tacos, and visited for several hours.
Turns out, our families were a match made in heaven.
I never in a million years would have guessed that that would have happened!
And our story didn’t end there.
Twelve years, a move, and four children later, we’re still friends, and we still get together for dinner on occasion.
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EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO SHARE
Unbeknownst to me, that one dinner invitation twelve years ago would spark a fire in me––a fire to hear people’s stories over the dinner table.
Today, our home is often filled with guests––friends, family, neighbors, strangers––who join us around the table to eat and share stories.
Truth is—I’m still terrified to invite others into our home.
And I still feel anxiety over what we’ll eat for dinner.
However, I thrive on the connection that takes place between other people––friends, family, neighbors, strangers––so I invite and invite and invite some more.
I invite people to come out of hiding; to show up where they can be seen;
and to tell their story–the story of their past, their present, their dreams for the future–whatever it is they feel like sharing.
I invite until I’m too tired to invite any longer, and then I rest.
Sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months.
I rest my weary, introverted self until suddenly, often with little notice, I’m back in the saddle.
Ready to extend invitations.
Ready to feed a crowd.
Ready to hear one story after another.
Ready to offer true connection over a table of simply-prepared food.
I can’t wait to see where this hospitality adventure leads our family––one person, one meal, one story at a time.
CHALLENGE: Everyone has a story to share. What’s yours? How has extending hospitality blessed your life?
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