Saturday, November 13, 2010

Late Night Hospitality

He offered to cancel the dinner.  I was fighting off a cold and tired easily.  The house was still in disarray being in the middle of a basement repair job, and the remains of babysitting a friend's toddlers the day before.  I just wanted to crawl back under the covers.

But he had invited them, and they were leaving soon.  He had asked me because he wondered if they needed to talk.

He offered again to cancel the dinner.  I was not looking good.  But I declined.  I am sure we can handle a dinner.  After all, they will leave soon.  The dinner will be, in the typical fashion, after church that evening, so not until at least nine.  They won't stay that long.

So I cooked.  I stayed home from church to reserve my strength, and cooked with my kids.  We had fun - trying a few new dishes.

And then they came.  After dinner, our kids went to bed.  Their child was with friends, so there was no reason to stay up and play.  We settled in to talk.  Small talk... for an hour or so...

We could tell they needed to talk, there were things.  They talked about stress, about needing to rest, struggling to find that...  no definition nor context to the stress.  So we took a gamble, and opened up an area of conversation.

They needed to talk.  Like us, they find themselves in an unique place - mixed marriage, a country foreign to both, working, difficulties, grief... it piles up.  Some things are difficult to talk about to people who do not live the day to day realities of marriages with very different cultures under the stress of 24 hour ministry and small children.

We shared some of our life.  Our near crash as a couple from not seeking help early enough, not knowing how to seek help, and the difficulties of actually finding competent help either on or off the field.  We shared the path we have walked.  There is hope.  There is the ability to speak honestly.  There is a future, still, and hope even though we walk through difficult times.  It is very hard at some times to find what is needed.  Mission groups do not always put a high priority on member care.  Even when they say they do, the process is often so ungainly and very dependent on the person who should arrange it.  Some do it well, and others not.

But there is hope.  The need to find a safe place to talk.  The need to be a safe place for each other.  Things we wish we had known.

It was a good evening.  When we looked at the time, it was near 1 in the morning.  We talked a little more, and then they left.

I woke this morning with a chest cold.  The little sore throat and light fever I had the day before settled into a wheeze deep in my chest.  Breathing is tiring.

I should have gone to bed early yesterday.  I should have rested and canceled the dinner.  But God had some late night hospitality on His agenda.

I don't mind.  I have also been the person keeping someone else up late, late a few nights.  I don't mind.  It is time to pass it on.

1 comment:

Steven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.