Favorites, Friendship

Exceptional Hospitality

Along the way, I learned much from experiencing memorable welcomes in homes.

In 1974, my Sunday School teachers—a married couple with young children—invited my class to their modest home for a sit-down dinner. Excluding bathrooms, every room was set for food—TV trays and card tables abounded. Their goal was to feed college students, not impress. I was impressed.

During dinner, Carol jumped up from her table, snatched a vase, and said “I forgot that I promised to return this yesterday.” Off she went. Laughing, she returned minutes later. “My neighbor forgot I had it.” Carol and Mike’s realness ministered to this teenager.

In 1982, an elder and his wife invited our entire church—hundreds and hundreds—to their farm for games and a potluck. Their property was massive. Their house wasn’t. The women stood in line to use the master bathroom. The room was clean, but cluttered. We navigated piles of neatly stacked books. The bed contained loads of clothes to be folded. Surfaces overflowed with carefully arranged papers. The woman in front of me turned and said, “Now this is what I call hospitality.” Her words stuck.

Oh, to welcome people so freely!

Decisions, Family, Friendship

I Only Need One

I’d been wronged. Or misunderstood. I was frustrated with someone and wanted advice with an opportunity to complain as a side dish. In response, I sought solace among people I trusted.

However, when everything was resolved, we couldn’t move on in a satisfactory way. Why? I had given people information that they shouldn’t have. Therefore, some confidants were not willing or ready to forgive the offender.  

At times, we need Someone to understand our plight. Along the way, I learned that Someone was not the members of my Bible study. Someone was not the members of my book club. Someone was not my friends. Someone was not my neighbors. Someone was not my extended family. Someone was One.

During one hurtful situation, my friend Jacqueline summarized this principle with a quote her mother taught her: Least said, soonest mended.

I learned to pick carefully—not a person who would wallow with me—but someone with perspective and wisdom about the situation I faced.

Like a surgeon, friends cut you in order to heal you. 

Reverend Tim Keller, Pastor and Author

Have you been blessed with a trusted One?

Friendship

Come With Me

Many times, I cheat when I watch competitive events. I watch replays so I don’t have to worry about the outcome. I can’t handle adrenaline anymore.

My favorite 2020 Olympic moment to rewatch is the second and third-place battles in the men’s marathon. Seconds before second place is claimed, third-place Dutch racer Nageeye closes in on second-place opponent Cherono. Nageeye immediately turns to fourth-place Belgium training mate Abdi and says,

Come with me.

Nageeye follows his command with hand gestures. Abdi hesitates. Nageeye keeps turning back and gesturing to Abdi until both sprint past Cherono. The friends claim silver and bronze. One commentator said it was as if Nageeye willed Abdi over the finish line.

What good is a podium spot at the Olympics if your friend isn’t standing with you?

Nageeye and Abdi came to mind as I read Olympian marathoner Deena Kastor’s memoirs. She said, “Come with me,” as she encouraged teammates during training or competitors during competitions.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17 (ESV)

Friendship, Homeschooling, Parenting

What Covid-19 Affirmed

Right now, in my area, the Covid-19 risk is decreasing. As I watched the media coverage the first year of Covid-19, I saw celebrities discover:

Managing life at home requires skill. Lots of skill;

Not traveling whenever or wherever you want is an eyeopener;

Homeschooling is hard. Very hard;

Untrained moms and dads can homeschool;

Cooking three meals a day for weeks and weeks requires creativity;

Not having a daily hair stylist means your hair is not perfect and takes more time than you have;

Not having a make-up artist means your make-up is not perfect and takes time than you have;

Caring for children 24 hours a day is exhausting;

Slowing down brings joy;

Your children want you more than the stuff your money bought them.

Thank you, Rich and Famous—especially morning news anchors—for your honesty. You may have lived a radically different life from mine pre-Covid-19, but in some ways, you were like me all along.

What did you learn watching others adjust due to the pandemic?

Friendship, Stories I Share

Stories I Share: Meeting Needs

I was savoring my morning accomplishment of putting a meal in my crockpot—the first since my newborn’s birth—when the phone rang. The two-year-old twin of a close friend had been hospitalized. My friend was pregnant with her fourth child. I immediately thought of my chicken in my crockpot. Did Donna need it more? I prayed.

Moments later, a mutual friend knocked on the door. Because Mary lived nearby, my friend Shirley had given her a meal at church and asked her to deliver it.

“Take it to Donna instead,” I said.

Later, Donna asked, “How did Shirley know I was desperate for a meal? Mary told me to return the dishes to Shirley.”

Months later, Mary stopped by to tell me that another pregnant friend had been put on bedrest. Mary wanted to take her a meal, but it was impossible with her day’s schedule. I immediately thought of a casserole in my freezer. I made a salad and took the meal.

Shirley and Mary met Donna’s need. Not I. I met Chris’s need. Not Mary. I never forgot that sometimes the best way to help is simply let a need be known.

Your turn or another’s?