So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright,
holy and disciplined.
Maybe I am a dinosaur, out of step, out of sync, an anachronism in the post-modern, millennial world. But, I still believe in the value of the spontaneous friendship. The one that doesn’t have to be scheduled and organized and entered as an appointment in your smart phone calendar. The one that is happy to have friends just drop in for reasons or no reason at all, just because they want to spend time with me. I seem to be the only one I know who feels this way though! Which means, no one actually does just “drop in,” even when repeatedly invited to do so.
Another side of this problem is that I find, even when I try to adapt to the reality that no one wants to just drop in at random — and probably doesn’t really believe that I mean it when I say I am OK with that because that seems to be a foreign idea in this day and age — and invite people over for specific times, people are so darned busy and overscheduled and overcommitted that they are almost never available just to casually hang out, come for lunch, dinner, tea, game night….anything. Forget saying, “Hey come over for lunch today (or dinner/game night on ___). Bring the kids. I miss you. Let’s just hang out and chat. Your place or mine?” or “Hey, I really need to talk. Can I come over?” Such invitations and requests are met with “I can’t. I have to….” or “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” Except they are so busy, they forget and after a few invites that lay forgotten or ignored, I take the hint that even scheduling time with me is not high on their priority list.
To me this all begs the question of whatever happened to spontaneous friendship and the welcoming habit of hospitality at anytime, not just when it seems convenient and planned out? The one that really invests time in and care for another person as an equal in the bond of true friendship and not just a duty to be scheduled and checked off a to-do list as an act of charity and busyness fulfilled?
Some years back, I was in a small women’s Bible study. There were six of us and we all seemed to bond really well. The fellowship and conversation was sweet. As the study was ending, we were lamenting the end of our time together and wishing we could continue, discussing ways to keep meeting, what we could do next. It all seemed great and honest and sincere, until I, thinking of the concept of Nancy Moser’s Sister Circle, suggested we form one of our own where we could just be sisters who didn’t need invitations to stay in touch, drop in, talk, get together. We could just be the tight knit circle of friends it seemed we had become and be there for one another through thick and thin. It was amazing how fast the tenor of the conversation changed to excuses for not doing anything so unplanned, spontaneous and unpredictable. From fears of “what if my house isn’t clean?” or “what if I’m in my grubbies or PJs or around the house clothes?” to “I’m too busy. I can’t guarantee I will be there for an unplanned drop in.” The whole thing quickly devolved into “Well, maybe, if we scheduled a get together once a month.” This from ladies who evidently had time to come to a weekly Bible study, now suddenly couldn’t find time to see each other casually more than once a month. Frankly, they missed the whole point — true friendship doesn’t need to be scheduled. Nor does a true friend care what I’m wearing or the state of my house when they stop by on spur of the moment just to say hi, just because they like me. True friendship doesn’t need to put on a show to impress others.
When hospitality becomes an art, it loses its very soul.
I understand that the demands and expectations of modern society drive people into all kinds of over-commitment and busyness but I may also be the only person on the planet with a pathological aversion to such excessive busyness — therefore, I just don’t do it. It makes for much more peace of mind and quality of life to pick and choose a few quality time activities and leave room for spontaneity, spur of the moment, the unplanned. In my opinion, if I am too busy to be hospitable and friendly — whether it is to my kids or visitors, then my priorities are all out of whack and I am out of sync with the heart of Jesus who always had time for people and understood the value of quiet time away from the rat race.
I may be out of tune with the world’s focus on busyness, over-commitment, planning and scheduling even our closest friendships as a duty on a checklist, but I will take being in tune with the heart of GOD for people any day. So if you live in my area and I know you, I am completely serious when I say with all possible graciousness — for heaven’s sake, stop standing on ceremony and just come over already! My door is open to you at anytime — as long as you’re coming to see me and the kids as equals (socially and morally/spiritually) and not to critique my house or my fashion choices. Most of the time, I have or can make the time to be hospitable whether I expected you or not. (What’s the worst that can happen — I’m out running errands? No problem, just come back later. No biggie! You can even call or text me and ask when I’ll be home. Easy peasy. Problem solved!) I am honestly, truly NOT KIDDING! Come–with warning or without–just come! If you need directions, just ask. Formality and a date planner over friendship is REALLY not my cup o’tea.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous for the LORD your GOD will go with you wherever you go? Joshua 1:9
I am not ashamed for I know in Whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard that which I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:12