It’s the witching hour when he swings by our house. I hardly recognize him.
“Hey, is Thad here?” he asks. “I really need to see him.”
I walk to the edge of the porch as he makes his way up the stairs. “It’s Kevin, right?” I ask.
He nods. “She done kicked me out. Took my kids and the last time I saw her she had hickeys all over her neck. I’m tore up. I been loving her forever and everything I been doing to keep her happy ain’t made her happy.”
I meet him on the top step, my baby at my heels. “I’m sorry, Kevin. I know you’ve been working hard. I bet you are hurt,” I say. He’s not here for me to fix his woman problems. He’s here because he needs someone to see him and hear him.
My youngest boy meets us on the porch and Kevin recognizes him. “How you doing, champ? You doing good in school?”
Isaac smiles shyly and looks at me before responding. “I guess I am. Reading is hard,” he says.
Kevin grins back at him. His smile is broadening and I can see his guard falling.
“Come on in,” I say. “Where are you staying now? Do you have a number I can give Thad?”
“Well, I’m at the shelter and I’m on house arrest for that thing I did back then,” he says. “I’m over here because I got community service to do and your house is on the way back to the shelter. “
He follows me into the front room where toys are scattered and babies are milling about, needing their diapers changed. The house is unruly and loud and no place for small talk. But Kevin, oblivious to the chaos swirling around him, is talking a blue streak and there is no stopping him.
So I do the only thing I can do.
I let him talk and I listen.
Jesus has seen fit to order my life in such a way that all of my days are spent rarely leaving my home.
There are kids to get out the door and kids to get in the door and the chores required in making a home and keeping a house are daunting. And they are endless.
I lead ministries from the front porch swing and scribble words on paper when words choose to come. I dream things for the people in my city when my arms are elbow deep in the sink and early in the morning and late in the evening, when the rest of my house sleeps, I get face time with the folks who are running their races alongside me.
And in all the in-between times, the times between diaper changes and crying and meals, there are neighbors knocking on the front door needing a sliver of something.
Ann Voskamp says that every interruption of my day is a manifestation of Jesus. I am coming to know that to be true.
Each knock on the door is an invitation to come and see the image of Jesus manifest in the faces of people who take on all sorts of shapes and sizes and colors. Each interruption is an invitation to reach out and meet Jesus in the brokenhearted and hungry and lost. Each pause in the cycle of crazy is an invitation to bravely open my home, pull out an extra chair, and let someone bring their hurt into my safe place.
Each moment, each person who knocks at my door, is a tangible reminder that Jesus has come near, that His kingdom comes not in pomp and circumstance, but in every small movement that I make towards my neighbor.
And at the core, this is what hospitality should look like.
Hospitality is not something I simply offer my neighbors. It is the posture I assume when my neighbors offer themselves to me.
It is the bending low, the inviting in, the seeing of all the lovely parts in another person’s presence.
It is the saying yes to an interruption, the coming near to a neighbor in need.
It is the manifestation of Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.