I believe my mother truly has a gift for hospitality. For offering up her house as a sacrifice of love for others. For making people feel at home. For serving sugar cubes.
Sugar cubes are probably my most vivid memory of her hospitality. I come from a tea-loving family, so every guest was offered a cup of tea, and the sugar bowl–filled to the brim with sugar cubes. I think the real reason behind the cubes was because Maryland humidity made granulated sugar clump until it was rock hard. But the people she served them to? They had no idea. They felt like queens, being offered the very best. So many people remarked on those little cubes, utterly delighted with them.
I’m an introvert, so hospitality isn’t my natural inclination (that would be something more akin to hibernation). But I learned well from my mama, and it comes in handy because I ended up marrying a professional chef. Yep, a chef. And a social one at that.
Which means that we do a lot of entertaining. We make a lot of dinners. We invite a lot of guests into our home.
Sure, I don’t do much in the way of food prep, but I know from experience that hospitality is more than just food. It is a feeling, a welcoming, an opening of heart and home.
So we try to create an environment suitable to hospitality. A lot of comfortable seating and plenty of coasters to go around. Movies that are group favorites, drinks we don’t usually indulge in, easy access to extra throws and floor pillows. It’s a lifestyle.
When we married, Husband and I didn’t want to move into a one-bedroom apartment, we wanted a place where we could host people. We were blessed with a five-bedroom beach house that was miraculously in our budget (thanks to off-season pricing). It was large enough to host my entire family (including all those nieces and nephews) for our wedding. When we had to leave that house (it was just a winter rental after all), we prayed for another home that we could open to others, to bless others.
God provided once more, another five-bedroom house, this time in the country. We didn’t know how He would use it, but we prayed that He would. That He would use the house and us to bless others abundantly, and in turn we would be blessed.
A lot of people have come through this house over the past two years. Family, friends. Some for big events, some for little vacations. One night, two, ten. Husband’s friends, mine. One even lived with us for a while until he could find his own place. We have loved opening the extra bedrooms, setting them up with extra toiletries, bottles of water, fresh linens. We loved inviting our loved ones to make themselves at home. And we were blessed by the company, the friendships that were born and fostered.
Yet, we still didn’t really know what our Lord had in mind.
Then we were hit with tragedy. My brother-in-law, Michael passed away unexpectedly. That night, our home held six very broken people. Before long more arrived, we were soon hosting up to 13 every night. A hurricane raged around us, but we were safe and dry and at home in this house. We poured ourselves out for those we love, all of us hurting. And this house–this house brought solace. It brought comfort. This bit of hospitality blessed our most dear ones.
I will be ever grateful for this place, these walls. And I will be sad to leave them when the time comes. But I am thankful that the Lord has heard our prayers and, through us, has blessed so many.
I can only pray that our next home, wherever it may be, will hold the same potential. That we will continue to offer our home as a sacrifice of hospitality to those around us. That we will share our blessings to our utmost ability.
And now, I think I might go buy some sugar cubes.