Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wisdom from A Rocking Chair


The gift of time.... the willingness to sit with another tangled mess of heart and nerve bundles, and lend an ear. If more of us would do that, we could put psychologists out of business. I am not on a campaign to obliterate a profession.... I just have been thinking about the lost art of hospitality. At least...lost to me.

My Bible study yesterday was about stopping everything to spend time extending hospitality to others, welcoming them in my home, learning how to relax enough to serve a simple meal in a perhaps not so spotless home and not be reluctant because the house is not clean, or I have nothing spectacular to feed them with.

My sister hates it when people greet her telling her how busy they are. I understand that response...both responses. First, I really am busy, but secondly, I recognize that comment is sometimes a defense against having to sit down and spend too much time with anyone. It is a big emotional stop sign to relationship.

I have 5 rocking chairs in my home. Five! They are always empty, but they are always posed in a stance of readiness. They are ready to be hospitable. I heard them chatting with each other yesterday.

"Hey Bentwood, I almost thought I had a taker yesterday."
"Oh really? A stranger?"
"An acquaintance, in fact a pair of them. They stopped by, but she never asked them in."
"Figures. Why not?"
"Well it was not totally her fault."
"No, it never is. What was it this time?"
"The usual. Well first the dogs of course went ballistic. She shot them several times with the water gun. Honeybun didn't play dead for a good 3 minutes. I think it was just easier to step out onto the porch."
"So Sunlight Rocker got a customer, then!?"
"Well no... she knew she had 3 more hours of homeschool to go so she didn't offer them a seat."
"Yeh, I know the routine."
"What's weird is she stood there chatting half an hour, with Sunlight Rocker and Spider Web Rocker both begging the humans to settle their bottoms.... but they all stood around. I suspect she was afraid the whole afternoon might disappear if they settled down."
"If only she had the ability to think like a rocking chair."
"I know, just open empty arms, beckon with a soft and coaxing repetitive plea, 'come rock with me, come rock with me...stay stay stay.... I will listen listen listen'."

I glared at my rockers. They stilled their mutinous chant. It is not that I don't want to be the person they wish I were. I really don't know how to satisfy the demands of just getting through the requirements of the day and extending hospitality to others. But I remember how Jesus chastised Martha when she was bustling about preparing the home and dinner for guests while Mary sat like a lazy, unproductive lump at Jesus' feet, listening to Him. He told Martha that Mary had chosen the better way. That story always throws me for a loop. If Martha had been like Mary, the guests would have no food or clean sheets upon which to lay their heads. The doghair would have been piling up like snowdrifts in a storm and the cockroaches would've outnumbered the guests. How can we all be Marys? Don't we need Marthas?

"She overthinks things," whispered the Amish rocker.
"I heard that!" I shouted.

Luke 10: 38-42
38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

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