Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hospitality of home and spirit

A perfect spring day here in NW Washington. Tulips blooming, apple trees budding, and we're sitting by the fire with our morning tea and cocoa.  Beve and me.  That's right, home with my favorite person on a lovely spring morning.  These are the moments I relish.  Moments that don't happen very often, to be honest with you (and to be honest with you, I'm always honest with you).  Beve's an early riser.  An extremely early riser.  Yesterday, for example, he got up and went in to work, even though it's Spring Break, before 4:00 in the morning.  Put in a whole 8 hours and was home by noon.  I was still in my pjs.  OK, yesterday I didn't get out of them all day, but still, that's a full day's work in half a day. Isn't it?  Am I doing my math wrong?

That's just how he operates.  If he can't stay asleep, he doesn't toss and turn, he just gets up and gets going.  He's like his mother that way.  She used to get more done in the middle of the night than most people do all day long.  Make a few stained glass vases, weld a few lamps or waste-paper baskets, sew a couple of dresses, braid a rag rug for the family room, bake a loaf of bread--all while the rest of the house was sleeping.  She just couldn't sit still.  And Beve is cut from the same cloth.  Most of the time, especially since his mother's been dead for 18 years now (wow, has it really been that long?), remark about Beve's similarity to Grampie.  And yes, I can see it.  The organizational skills--and by that I mean, the piles of papers they tend to have on their desks.  But really, it's Grammie Beve's like.  The gift, yes, the God-given gift of hospitality that has made him open wide the doors of every door we've ever owned, welcome friend to come on in, have a meal, stay a while, stay a month.  This is that gift.  The ability to create a party from a moment, this is also my husband.

I don't have these gifts. I have the gift of creating moments from moments, if that makes sense.  If we start talking, you and I, I'll help us make that moment something, but will get so caught up in the making of it, I'll forget creature comforts--for both of us.  Won't offer you a drink, a blanket, a place to lay your head.  Won't lay down my head myself, come to think of it.  The moment, the conversation--they're what I pay attention to--while Beve, Mr. Hospitality Incarnate, will be mixing orange juice and lemonade, adding a little Sprite and offering you a tasty spring drink you'll find refreshing and lovely.  He got that from his mother.  Thank her very much.  I do.  I thank her very much.  For the hospitality offered that I would never think of.  For the generosity of spirit so different from my own.  For the beds, the food, the comfort we've given, that I've taken credit for because I stand beside him.  Yes, and for those same things that I've grumbled about more than once.  Ask him.  Ask my kids.  As I say, they don't come naturally to me, so I tend to tense when having to practice what isn't organic to me.

But if you knock on our door and Beve practices his gift, I can promise, my gifts will be practice too.  The gifts of conversation, of meeting of minds and hearts and moments.  His gifts feed and provide a bed for the night.  Mine might (depending on you, I suppose) offer something else just as needed. Maybe a hospitality of heart. At least that's what I tell myself when I'm just sitting and talking, while he'd doing all the work.

Now excuse me, Beve and I are off for a little overnight jaunt.  See you tomorrow night.

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