Tuesday, April 30, 2013

hospitality inspiration

I heard her tell the story more than once.  There was a couple who she and her husband knew while in grad school who showed them what true hospitality looked like.  Their home was open to anyone at any hour.  She always ended the story by saying how much it had inspired them.

Marlena Graves was my RD in college.  I babysat her daughter, I worked as one of her RAs, I asked her to stand up with me in my wedding.  And I spent many wonderful hours in her apartment.

Marlena and her husband always remember the couple they knew in grad school, but when I think of hospitality, I will always think of the Graves'.

Their apartment wasn't big or spectacular (after all, it was connected to our dorm).  It wasn't extravagantly decorated.  There wasn't usually an amazing feast waiting for me.  If I dropped in unexpectedly, I wouldn't be surprised to find things a little out of order.

But it was perfect.

Instead of making excuses about what they didn't have, the Graves' chose live out hospitality with what they DID have.  They recognized that hospitality is less about having the perfect house or the perfect meal and more about embodying Christ.

They lived life with us college students, whether we knew them from the classroom or the dorm.  They choose to let us into their lives and in return we felt safe to let them into ours.  Their apartment was a haven when life was stressful.  A safe place to ask questions and get advice.  And yes, sometimes a place to laugh about the latest SNL short.  Even now, a few years later, there are nights when I wish I could just walk down the hall, knock on their door and discuss things that are going on.

Now I'm "grown up" and have my own home.  My husband and I are doing our best to follow the example the Graves' gave us (some days we do better than others).  Our table only sits four and we don't really have much furniture in our living room.  But I'm learning that most people (the kind, good-hearted ones) don't mind sitting on the floor in exchange for good conversation and a free meal.




**I'd love for you to visit Marlena's blog and be encouraged by her writing.  : )

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