Hospitality is something I struggle with. Don't get me wrong, I love having people over, but the heart attitude of hospitality is what I struggle with sometimes. I usually don't struggle with hospitality when I have planned to have guests over or even have unexpected guests that we know well. It is often the "unexpected" guests who I don't know well that I struggle knowing how to be hospitable with.
Here is a "picture" of one of the most hospitable people I have known. She was my neighbor when I was growing up. Nona was the grandma of the home, she loved kids, and she had immigrated from Italy in the early 1900's.
When I went to their home and knocked on the door I was always greeted with "Come in, come in". She didn't talk to me in the doorway or have me wait outside while she called her granddaughter to come and see who had come to visit. She was always offering me a drink or something to eat. If she was cooking she always wanted me to try a bite of it. If I was there close to meal time she always invited me to join them for dinner. She loved me as if I were her own. She always told me I could "stay longer" when it was time for me to leave. I don't think she ever had a cross thought about "that neighbor girl" coming over again. She always made some kind of baked good for my family at a holiday, too.
I had a wise mother who didn't let me visit too often and wear out my welcome. She also usually told me what time I needed to be home and it was always a reasonable time, before they would be serving dinner. (Thanks Mom.)
Here's what it looks like at my home. When someone knocks on the door, I don't think to promptly invite them in. I am often slow to answering the door as it seems they like to come visit while I am nursing. So they ring the doorbell multiple times or knock several times before I can get there. I don't like to have my kids answer the door every time, because they don't seem to know what to do when they answer the door even though I have tried to tell them and show them. When I answer the door, we may stand in the doorway and visit before I invite them in or I may say it isn't a good time and turn them away politely after greeting them. I rarely think to offer anyone a drink, they either suffer through their thirst, ask for a drink, or get their own. If I am serving a snack to my kids I ask if they would like one too, but if it is close to dinner I often wait to work on it, because I don't want to be rude by telling them it is time for them to leave. I am often eager for any guests to leave so we can get on to straightening up for Daddy before he comes home from work or so I can get dinner ready. Sometimes when we have guest(s) I feel like I have to constantly be watching what is going on between them and my children, which is good, but it is something I struggle to do with a good attitude. I seldom ask anyone to stay for dinner, but often wonder if I should be asking them. If I should ask them I think we would have guests for dinner several times a week. At the end of the day I am tired and not at my prime. I'd like to see and talk with my husband when he gets home and that's sometimes hard to do with our children who love him and want his undivided attention right away. When we have guest(s) it is even less likely. I often have to ask our guest(s) to leave whether its in the morning, afternoon, or evening. Sometimes I struggle to know whether I am being selfish with my family and time or if I am giving and have already given enough. Sometimes having guest(s) makes me weary and mentally worn as well. I want to be available to the children who may wish to visit. I want to be able to show a Christ-like attitude to them, but I don't really have a clue, how. I feel so rude when I have to tell them it is time for them to leave.
Hospitality is something I'm working on, but if anyone has any tips for hospitality or remembering how to be hospitable when someone unexpected arrives I'd love to hear your thoughts.