“But oh! GOD is in his holy Temple! Quiet everyone—a holy silence. Listen!” (Habakkuk 2:20 MSG)
I’m at home with the littlest lovelies. Chailah has a cold and the deal-breaking fever that kept us from attending co-op. It’s cold and quiet and tiny flurries whip through the sky foreshadowing the storm to come. It is well with me. An impending storm and the holy hush that silences a city is perfect for quiet hospitality…indeed the simple celebration of being at home. In this season, my home is the temple. I welcome the silence. It’s sacred.
I’ll make soup. Bake bread. Along with a fair measure of Motrin shots I’ll hug and kiss the cooties away. I’ll have coffee ready when my husband comes home and listen to my teenaged son talk about attending high school next year. I’ll draw angry bird figures with Ade and teach him to play Go Fish. I’ll let Ila stay up late tonight. Maybe over tea we’ll discuss life – woman to woman.
But if someone stopped by today, unannounced, I’m not sure I’d answer the door. I shouldn’t admit that right? For more reasons than I can name here, my family needs all the hospitality I can offer. What we need is quiet. I need to listen for the yes, and for the no. The “as for me and my house WE”. I need to hear His holy affirmation of a hospitality that is quiet.
It’s no surprise God whispered slow to me back in May. I didn’t listen and set myself up for the non-stop action of a hectic year of homeschooling, the unique ball of crazy that is the NYC High school application process…and life at the skating rink with two girls. Did I mention I also have a super demanding four-year old? We’ve fallen prey to the carved god of fast family life. We’re doing it all – and we’re paying the price.
So knowing this, “EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU SAY YES TO ONE THING, YOU HAVE TO SAY NO TO ANOTHER.” – I’d pray it wasn’t an emergency and let the buzzer ring. “Please Lord let me not have turned away an angel unaware.” Sometimes the only hospitality I have to offer is reserved for the little village of people I love in 5p. We need a family retreat in the worst way. I’m scraping the sides of my alabaster jar for the last drops of oil. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have enough. Sometimes I have to choose.
Yes. That was the release of a holy exhale. The breath I held thinking I had to be everything to every body. It was me breathing a sigh of relief when I heard my surprise guest turn away. God forgive me.
Listen. It’s quiet. The kind of quiet that gives us time to actively apply the meditative salve of hospitality – to take seriously, the call to serve our families. To walk the length of our homes, anointing with touch…every door. To open the windows…just a bit. The blessing of brisk midwinter air might awaken the bones…enliven whatever’s left of the Holy Spirit in our homes. Quiet hospitality might be the fresh wind of faith needed for our families.
Lately my hospitality feels quiet and small. I’m leaning into the grace of that. There’ll be time for more, a season of open doors…even room for uninvited guests and invitations to stay…as long as you like. But for now…it’s quiet.
Sometimes you won’t have enough. Enough love and energy to pour into every passion-filled cause and project. You won’t have enough to solve the problems of your friends. Sometimes you’ll have to love well in your lane, settle, selectively into a quiet hospitality that covers only the people within the hallowed halls of your home. It won’t be clean or pretty. It won’t qualify as a Pinterest-worthy posting of Good House Keeping loveliness. But it will be rich. And it will be well. Loving well within the gates prepares us to love well beyond them. If you respond to the call for quiet hospitality He’ll bless and break your offering. Your just enough…your little bit of love…will be enough.