Hospitality with Humility

(Note: names changed to protect the innocent!)

Yesterday shortly after noon, I had a friend drop by. We’ll call her Annie. She was coming by to pick up something little, so I wasn’t sure whether she’d actually come in to the house or just run to the door, grab the aforementioned item, and leave quickly. Well, given her two little cherubs think our dog (we’ll call him Kid) is very cool, she voted for getting them out of the car and heading into the house.

Before I begin this next paragraph, you must understand that in keeping with my pride, I generally like my house to look a certain way when people come over. I like it to look nice for us but that desire is almost always heightened when the potential for company is on the horizon. I imagine many people feel this way, but I might be worse than most.

Well, as Annie and crew crossed the threshold into the House of Thorne I warned them in no uncertain terms that my home was potentially in danger of being declared a disaster area. (It is probably unkind of me to use such terminology given the recent devastation Claudette has brought to the Texas coast.)

Truthfully, though, it was indeed, ahem, untidy, to put it mildly. I had just returned from a mammoth Target trip and hadn’t put much of anything away yet. So the counters and kitchen table and even some of the floor were filled with groceries. The dishwasher was clean but not emptied so there was an accumulation of dirty dishes strewn across the counters near the sink. Then there was the little issue of the chocolate chip cookie bars I’d baked the evening before for Small Group. I made them last thing before it was time to leave for church, then I’d been away after group was over and didn’t return home till after midnight so doing dishes was not high on my priority list. The laundry I had earlier taken the time to fold had since fallen (or been thrown from) the love seat so it was decorating the living room floor. Meanwhile, my two eldest (we’ll call them Abishag and Nathan joe) had gotten out every board game we own and littered the dining table with them. They were all in varying states of being played. Lastly, the baby (we’ll refer to him as Nicolai) had contributed to the general state of chaos by plucking most of the magnetic letters off the fridge door.

Ok, I know I’m not making it sound as impressively awful as it was, but you have to trust me, it was bad, VERY VERY BAD!! However, I had just made a fresh pot of coffee which smelt very wonderful. So, as our friends made their way through the danger zone, tripping on target bags and magnetic letters, I meekly offered Annie a cup of coffee. She very bravely accepted and although we had to push aside the discarded mixer from the previous evening in order to prepare our coffees, they were warm and tasty nonetheless. Meanwhile, the previously mentioned Abishag and Nathan Joe offered to share their new toys (Viewmasters and slides purchased just minutes before at “The Target”) with their visiting friends. After picking myself up off the floor from the shock, I turned back to Annie and the two us had a good conversation in the midst of the mess. Our friends stayed on for the better part of an hour and a half and it was a lovely visit. For the most part: there was one little incident involving blood but nobody had to go to the emergency room!

I learned something in all this: if one can swallow their pride it is possible, even with a very messy casa, to extend hospitality to those who knock at your door. Being brave enough to allow Annie to enter the abominably untidy House of Thorne yielded a wonderful time together over coffee which, while offered humbly, was received warmly. I was immensely thankful for friends who accept me, my progeny and my house the way they are. What a blessing.

5 Comments

  1. Barb
    Jul 21, 2003

    Tricia, my sister-in-law is The Ruling Queen of Messy (with her 6 children) and I never fail to love every minute I spend in her home.

  2. Annie
    Jul 21, 2003

    I enjoyed my splendid visit and would even go back for more if asked/I invited myself again! Our time together was necessary for my sanity and I really didn’t notice all those things you mentioned in this blog! The only thing you left out was that my eldest, we’ll call her “Hosanna”, tried to “help” by rearranging your video tapes and the youngest, how ’bout “Libya”?, ate most of “Kid”‘s doggie biscuits. It truly was an act of hospitality on your part, Trish, thanks!!

  3. Dennis Bratcher
    Jul 28, 2003

    The Bratcher motto for years, especially when we haad 5 five and under was:

    Our Home:
    Clean enough to be healthy,
    Messy enough to be happy!

  4. Peter
    Aug 22, 2003

    Hey, Trish, that’s we call Community! That’s right, the body of Christ is *supposed* to be able to see each other in the throes of mess-dom, since anything less is a poor representation of what we are. In your own special way, you were building the kingdom that day :-D

    For what it’s worth, our own pastor, the inimitable Rich Lambert, has encouraged us to “drop in” on each other unannounced… it’s nice to see the high-tech corridor reformers taking up this habit as well!

    Verbosely yours,

    Your big little brother (Early model)

  5. Kelly
    Sep 1, 2003

    Trish, I just found your blog and I can’t tell you what an encouragement this post was to me. I love having people over, but get FREAKED OUT by the messes caused by seven homeschooled children!