“Mama, how many places should I set?” my daughter calls from the living room, where she’s setting out cloth napkins on the dining table.

Hands deep in the salad bowl, massaging kale with salt, I say, “It’s Wednesday,” as if this answers her question. And, in our house, it does:

“Okay, I’ll set seven.”

For years, we have had three friends over for dinner every week. They don’t come on the same night. This means that for years, three nights a week, we have a dinner guest.

Or rather, had. Last year, one of these beloved friends moved out of state. She no longer gets that one good home-cooked meal a week. At least, not at our table.

But the other two friends still come, week in, week out, and join us for whatever it is I’ve cooked up. Soup, burritos, pasta, shepherd’s pie. I work around their dietary issues and food allergies—it’s been so many years, I don’t really have to think about it anymore. On this Wednesday evening when our friend comes, we gather around the table, light a candle, bless the food, and dig in. It feels so ordinary, because we do it so often. But perhaps the truly extraordinary feels like that—quiet, unpretentious. That doesn’t make it ordinary, though.

Look at Jesus. Quiet, unpretentious. And anything but ordinary.

 And mostly, I don’t think about it. I don’t even consider this hospitality. It’s become such a rhythm in our lives that it feels normal, completely du jour. But every once in awhile, when I start to get down on myself for not being more involved with “the poor” (whatever I happen to mean by that at any given moment), for not mixing more in “the world” (whatever that is), my husband gently reminds me that week after week I make these meals that feed our family and one more person besides, a person who, because of these meals, has been grafted into our family. Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t feel like hospitality—because these friends feel like family.

dinner friends_GT

Perhaps, every single night of the week, when I break out the pots and pans and bowls, I am practicing hospitality. In making a meal for my husband, our children, myself, and these friends, I am creating a safe space for these few people, the people who are right in front of me, so close I am sometimes blind to the wonder of them, the sheer miraculous fact that they are—and are here, with me, in this place.



K. C. Ireton / Posts / Blog
K.C. Ireton is the author of two books and the mother of four children. An avid reader, she believes that a day without books is a day without meaning or joy. She also likes food, especially when her husband prepares it. Vive le weekend!
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    Hi Kimberlee … Oh such hearty words here. As ever.
    On my own blog today, I’m sharing what single moms have told me about what they need most from the church. And invitations to relationship, to break bread with others is one big heart cry.
    I love how are posts are resonating together … especially during this week of’ love.’

    February 11th, 2015 18:21
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    Kris Camealy

    I love this glimpse into your daily rhythm , Kimberlee. How often I forget that I am practicing a steady, hushed hospitality here among these people in my home, caring for them day in and day out, unceremoniously, and steady. I am grateful for this article from you, for the way you made me look again at my own well-worn grooves, and how in between the laundry piles and endless sink-loads of dishes, I am already doing it.


    February 11th, 2015 18:32

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