From Hostility to Hospitality
I can't stop thinking about God being a host. I wrote the other post as a hurricane was coming to my state. This definitely was a test on my ability to relax. Especially because I was supposed to be at my nephew's wedding in another state. I wrestled and wrestled with this concept of God being a host. Before the hurricane, I was experiencing peace. As it came and it was unclear how to manage getting to the wedding, I did not do so well. In fact, I woke my daughter up yelling at the airline people on the phone. I lost patience, and I did not like getting what felt like the run around. I took control and it showed! My serenity got sucked into Hurricane Florence! In the midst of a time crisis, I did not do so great as it continued. Started off great and pooped out. Needy kids and constantly changing schedule tested my new found idea of ultimately being taken care of by God the Host.
So, I was thoughtful about the practice of believing God is taking care of me, or "hosting" me. Again, if you can remember a time where you were hosted well, your needs were taken care of, even if there was a crisis, someone was managing your affairs for you and you felt secure. You felt loved. In the best of times, it just melts your heart to be served by someone.
I am trying to walk out this thought of God being the ultimate host. What is most helpful is also to think of others being in the same position. Often, I FEEL responsibility for others well being and even though I truly love people, I cannot meet everyone's needs. I am bound to disappoint or fail people. In my case, it's my children, most of all. Maybe it's your roommates, or your co-workers or your family of origin. We have a limited supply of love patience, and energy. But, what if we switch gears and know that other people are also being "hosted" by God? In other words, believing He will take care of their needs and loves them way more than we can. It would be silly to be in someone else's party and start taking over and running around to all the other guests to meet their needs. Inappropriate on every level.
If I believe I am deeply loved and that others are also deeply loved and cared for, I can relax and enjoy. I don't have to anticipate or fret or worry or consider. It is a room of peace where we all meet. I am catching glimpses of this and it is exquisite! Often I am discouraged because I realize how little I live like this, but, hey we have to start somewhere!
This is the nitty gritty. When someone annoys me, or I am interrupted and I have a million things to do, I can now pause. I can check in and remind myself, that God is taking care of my needs, and I have all I need. I can be present to that person or need, and I can trust mine to be taken care of. If my kids are fighting or if my professor is unfair and I start to panic (and manage things), I can pause and ask God to take care of it because it's His table or house or whatever image you have of hospitality! As I have walked in this, I am getting hugs from strangers and my children are responding and I know it is because they are experiencing peace.
Henri Nouwen is a thoughtful reflector on deeper things and life. I need to re-read this book because he talks about the importance of living a deeper, spiritual life and the concept of hospitality in relation to others.
He says, "To convert hostility into hospitality requires the creation of the friendly empty space where we can reach out to our fellow human beings and invite them into a new relationship."