Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hospitality Starts in the Heart, Not the State of Your Home -- part 2

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When did hospitality become a struggle for me?  I have asked this question more then once.  Did it start when I began withdrawing from being with people because I was depressed?  Or, was it because of the lack of energy I was experiencing, which made entertaining and cleaning my house more and more difficult?

I think the first place I would answer this is looking back on why I was depressed.  At first, I was sure it was because of unresolved grief and other issues.  However, when I consider the past, I realize I can see a gradual breakdown in my health, which had nothing to do with grief.  Stress may have been a factor, but I am now convinced I had some hormone issues before I found a doctor that looked deeper at what was happening to my body.  And yet, that did not keep me from hospitality in the early stages of immune issues in my body.

The reason I mention these things is I think considering why one changes from having friends and family over on a fairly regular basis to almost never having someone over needs to be addressed.  If you were a person who often spent time with other people or having people into your home,  your personality probably did not change over night.  In fact, the desire is probably still there -- just not the energy to prepare.  Can you identify with this?

In my blog, we have looked at how to get the clutter out of our houses, so we can make cleaning simpler.  However, we have not really discussed  that we are possibly still dealing with not inviting people over, because we are embarrassed our houses are not perfect.  

Or, maybe it is too overwhelming for you to consider having someone over, because you think you have to decorate or prepare fantastic food.   Or, perhaps you are afraid of the energy you know will leave you as you become overwhelmed with sight, sound, and interacting with other people.  Whatever it is that prevents you from connecting with other human beings in person, you need to look at this.  Then, start thinking of ways you can manage when being around other people.  Also, don't be afraid of the energy you will lose.
When one deals with FM, CFS, and other chronic illnesses, it is a fact of life.  If you don't lose energy one way, you are going to lose it another -- whether you invite someone to your home or not.  

The Bible talks about hospitality many times.  We are told not to neglect showing it to strangers, because we may be entertaining angels.  Also, if we follow the model of Jesus, our Savior, he often spent time in the homes of others.  He enjoyed being with people.  Moreover, this would not have been possible without hosts and hostesses with open hearts and homes.

There is a story of Jesus being in the home of Mary and Martha.  Martha was very busy serving.  Finally, she became aggravated with her sister and asked Jesus to tell Mary to help.  Mary was sitting with the Savior listening to him teach.  Jesus actually told Martha that Mary had chosen the best;  so, it sounds to me like he was less concerned with what he was going to eat,  and he was more concerned that Martha heard what he had to say.  Wouldn't you have loved to be in that room listening to what he had to say?  (Luke 10:38-42)

If you would like to see more Bible verses about hospitality, click here:
What does the Bible say about hospitality? 

On a personal note, I am so happy I said yes to my niece visiting this past weekend.  Yes, I was very tired on Monday, but my heart was full to the brim with satisfaction and happiness.  She didn't care my house was not perfect.  It was even messy in a couple of places:  it certainly did not look like a magazine layout.  But, who cares?  Probably most people don't care:  they just want to spend time with family and friends.

Who cares about the oven?
My house is reasonably clean.
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Incidentally, I will tell you a secret.  When I was healthy I would wear myself out cleaning and cooking too.  That's probably why Thanksgiving dinner always tasted better the second day.  Kind of hard to enjoy eating when all you want to do is rest.  I am also remembering when I did not have a self-cleaning oven.  I would spray it with that awful smelling, caustic spray;  and, I would lay newspapers all over the floor.  The gloves went on, and I cleaned it out.  Why died I always do this before our parents came for a long visit?  Like they really cared if I cleaned my oven.  Does any of this sound familiar? 

Remember to go for reasonably clean, not perfect.  And, let other people help you with the work.  They will appreciate the opportunity and feel more at home.

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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah