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« Frankly, No | Main | Daily roundup »

March 25, 2008

Come on in

Marker Hospitality seems to be a theme right now. First I read this piece on "open nesters" on Carolyn McCulley's Radical Womanhood blog. Then I was reading Jim Daly's book Finding Home.

Daly is the president of Focus on the Family and had a rough childhood, to put it mildly. When he needed a place to stay after college, he called up an old family friend and stayed with her and her husband, Lenny, for a time. Daly writes:

Living with Lenny was like enrolling in a crash course in biblical studies, an experience that helped me grow as a Christian young man. Lenny took it upon himself to talk to me about what it meant to be a man, and the importance of living as a person of integrity, honesty, honor, and faithfulness. I never saw these traits in my father. I had much to learn and, thankfully, Lenny was a patient mentor. He knew life was about learning and sometimes it takes time to get it.

Daly's story reminded me of Donald Miller's experience living with photographer John MacMurray and his family. I wrote about that for BreakPoint two years ago. You can read the article here.

Then, reading Sunday's Washington Post, I came across this article about a family that has opened its home to extended family members and women in need.

Finally, I popped over to the Point and listened to Mark Earley's radio message from a few days ago, on the same theme.

As a single woman who also happens to be a homeowner, this is a message that resonates with me. One of the best privileges of my life as a single has been the opportunity to host others in my home. There was the roommate who later married and modeled grace as the mother of precariously premature twins. She was followed by a co-worker who relocated to the area and needed a place to stay, with Oscar the cat, while she found a place of her own. One of my younger brothers lived with me for four summers in high school and college, gaining valuable work experience that he couldn't get at home, and then lived with me for several years after college, deepening our sibling bond. Other family members and a Prison Fellowship summer intern have lived with me at various times.

While I know my life is richer for these experiences, I have to confess that I have mostly responded to needs as they have arisen, instead of proactively seeking out opportunities to use hospitality as a way to build into the life of another person. As I think about how that might work in my life, I would love to hear how you have used hospitality to help others in need or how you have been blessed by the hospitality of others.

(Image © The Washington Post)

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Gina Dalfonzo

When I think of hospitality, I think of Gene and Emily Chase. Gene taught my freshman seminar course in college (with Emily sometimes serving as co-teacher), and they both taught the Sunday school class I attended during my college years. Emily also led the abstinence group to which I belonged (I've talked about that group, and one of her books, here: http://thepoint.breakpoint.org/2006/12/re_not_so_free__1.html ).

So I saw quite a lot of them for a while, and still keep in touch today. But what was really striking beyond all the activities and career fields they were engaged in was the way they were always throwing their home open to students, sometimes at a moment's notice. Many of us students were given birthday dinners at their home, and invited to various other parties and get-togethers there. The day I found out about my cousin Michelle's sudden death, Emily took me home with her to spend the night so I wouldn't feel alone. I've never forgotten their kindness and caring.

Gene used to say that hospitality was his wife's spiritual gift. Truer words were never spoken (and it was just as true of him as it was of her).

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