Monday, April 29, 2013

When There are Webs in the Windows and You Say "Come On In!"

Last week, the Women's Ministry team at church planned a progressive dinner. I agreed to hostess.

Ninety precious women,  many of whom had never been to my home, were coming for dessert.

The ministry team covered the details, right down to cream for the coffee. All I had to do was clean the house, then kick back and welcome these lovely women.

But wanted to roll out red-carpet hospitality. I wanted to wash the windows.

I come from a long line of Dutch people. But I'm missing that shiny-home gene. And my windows call me out (Sometimes my dad teases and reminds me that there's a river outside my front window. Now wouldn't that be a nifty thing to see?).

So I spent the day cleaning, and an hour before the ladies arrived, I hit the windows. I particularly wanted to clean the tall one in the living room. The glass is over a century old and a spider had taken up residence. A thick sheet of web stretched between two panes.

I tried with all my might to get to that darned web. I tried to pry one pane off. I tried to shimmy Zay's wooden sword, swathed in a cleaning cloth, between the two sheets of glass. I jabbed with a yardstick and tried to gather the web like cotton candy on a cardboard tube.

No luck.

I was out of time and the spiders won.

"What do I do?" I whispered, hands on hips, standing on the porch.

True hospitality comes from the heart. When you open your home, you can open your life.

The words fell in a soft place. The words made me warm. The words shifted my focus and suddenly that web in the window held no power over me.

Ninety women, in groups of twenty-some, came into my home.

There was conversation. And laughter. There was tenderness and sharing and sisterly love. The sweet bond of women stretched over generations and moved deep within these walls.

And you know what? No one cared about the web in the window.

Not even me.

Sweet fellowship is too powerful to get caught in something like that.

So I learned a little bit last week. A gem of knowledge I'll do my best to keep.

True hospitality truly comes from the heart.

And if we just allow it, the blessing is rich and deep.

Father, thank you for teaching me about hospitality. Help me to remember to welcome others into my life and my heart, caring more about relationships and less about my house. Amen.