Labor Day came and went, and I think it took me all week to recover from sweating so much, because we took our kids to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, along with every
other person in San Antonio (or so it seemed) on perhaps the hottest day of the summer (or so it felt).
They advertised a great Labor Day sale–buy season passes now and use them until the end of next season. We’ve never had passes to Fiesta Texas, but we decided this would be a fun thing to do when the weather gets better. Of course, they offered this deal but then made everyone wait in three different long lines–you had to go through the first line with 500 people in front of you, only to be told to go to the next line and wait all over again, and repeat that one more time. It took way over an hour just to get into the park.
By the time we got into the final line, we had gone through all sorts of emotions by then–frustration, anger, sarcasm, almost tears, and finally were at the point of just cynicism and whatever-will-be-will-be feelings. Our clothes were drenched with sweat and we had already drunk all of our water.
But then we got behind this sweet little family in line, and the mom turned around and offered us an umbrella to shade us from the scorching sun, which we accepted with grateful hearts. Then she offered misting spray bottles to the children to keep them cool, complete with really sweet words and smiles, which quickly lifted our spirits and made me think, “She must know Jesus, she just must.”
This woman had the gift of hospitality–she shared her things and was purposing to make us feel comfortable, even in the hottest, sweatiest south texas amusement park line. What a gift! And it was such a reminder to me of how we have the opportunity to make people feel “at home” and at ease, even when we aren’t at home.
Sure, hospitality by it’s definition has definite connotations of being “home” related…but it definitely can transcend the walls of our houses and reach out beyond the actual comforts of our home. It has more to do with putting other people first, even in our own discomfort (that sweet lady was hot and sweaty too), and finding simple ways to cause people to relax and feel less worried and frantic.
After that encounter, I wondered what ways I can be hospitable, even when I’m not at home. I feel like I’m striving to be the kind of woman that welcomes and helps people feel comfortable in my home, I so desire that! But it truly is work, looking past a mess to see the person who’s there needing love, forgetting my to do list and turning on a cup of coffee for a friend. This striving for a hospitable heart reminds me that it goes much further than our literal homes.
How can I welcome someone into the environment we are in and make them feel comfortable and at ease…this lady really did relieve that desire to complain about our situation, and her efforts truly lifted our spirits and caused us to forget about our annoyances and begin to be happy again–just a simple act of sharing an umbrella and offering misting bottles.
Cultivating hospitality starts in the heart and overflows from there–your home doesn’t have to be perfect in order to begin hospitality. You don’t even have to be at home to be hospitable, if your heart is seeking to put others first and show love in all areas of life.
What ways can you (and I) be hospitable this week, when we aren’t in the comforts of our home???