Monday, July 10

Doing Life Together


Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.... Hebrews 13:2

My son puts the early birds to shame. He awakens ultra early and - if I'm honest - slightly grumpy, a trait inherited from his momma. And on this brisk morning in a tiny cabin nestled at the foot of the Black Hills, it's all I can do to get him dressed and out the door for a donut run with my hubby before his loudly whispered conversation wakes our traveling companions.

We're on a road trip because our friends are returning home to China, because they've never seen Mount Rushmore, because we want to eek out just a little more time doing life with them before we're separated by an ocean, a language barrier, and time.

Doing life together: it is one of my favorite things. And taking others on vacation with us is quickly becoming a cherished pattern in our lives. There is nothing quite like road trips, small cabins, and kitschy tourist traps (thanks, Wall Drug!) to replace polite small talk with the stuff made of real life: discussing cultural differences within the safe context of friendship, laughing over our bad road trip karaoke, and building memories as our children turn somersaults in the warm sunshine and freshly mowed lawn of the small mom and pop campground.


If you are mentally ticking off your family's unique quirks and thinking to yourself that such an adventure would never work, please believe me when I say that my family is not perfect, that we have our own "stuff" and awkward parenting moments, and that inviting others in doesn't start with a four day road trip to the Black Hills looking for buffalo and jackalope.

It starts small and tentative over bonfires, potluck dinners, and outings to the local park, a ball game, a museum. It's looking for someone new to town, school, or church and walking toward them with a warm smile and small chat instead of around them.

It's being bold and brave enough to reach out to a stranger instead of hiding in the comfortable circle of your best friends. 

Inviting others into your home and into your life is a glorious, messy adventure that often quickly results in another new bestie, and, if you seek out people who are not cut from your same particular cloth, an expanding of what it means to be from another culture, another place, another perspective.  

Our colleges are filled with students from all corners of the world, many of whom are here alone and on their own, who would love to be adopted for American holidays, cultures and customs. And our cities and neighborhoods are filled with new arrivals, people-not-from-here, people craving connection beyond our polite but often distant and dismissive "Minnesota nice."

What new face floats to mind as you consider who you might invite in? The single mom two doors down? An international student? The new coworker? Summer is the perfect time to invite someone over for a class of lemonade on the back patio. In a world filled with digital distractions, let's be practitioners of old-fashioned hospitality.





3 comments :

  1. I'm terrible at this. I tend to stick with who I know, and I hardly ever do things as two or more families coming together, but I certainly need to start. Thanks for sharing!!

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    Replies
    1. The trick to success is starting small. Invite someone(s) to coffee. :)

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