Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sacrificial Hospitality: A Lenten Journey

With today being Ash Wednesday, I wanted to share with all of you a project that has been brewing in my little head since before the Advent season.

Back in November, I read an article in The Catholic Moment entitled A slice of pumpkin bread: How hospitality heals. And I was touched very deeply by the author's words:

"Lately I have been reflecting on hospitality, a virtue that doesn't get nearly the air time as charity or forgiveness, patience or moderation," Capecchi writes, "... this neglected virtue can invite holy exchanges. And we can practice it every hour of the day- no matter the size of our bank accounts or our knowledge of Martha Stewart tips. Hospitality is not just a virtue you exercise when hosting a party in your home; it's something you carry wherever you go, whether you serve are are being served.... it's not just about refilling empty glasses; it's about refilling confidence and resoring hope."

How true is that? Don't get me wrong- I appreciate a beautifully set table as much as the next gal, but true hospitality goes beyond that. It involves anticipating one another's needs and striving to meet them.

And so, throughout this Lenten season, I will be embarking on a journey to provide more hospitality. I learned a very personal lesson in the value of hospitality when my daughter was in the hospital for almost four months. My life was made so much richer by the selfless acts of others.

Each week I will take on a new "project", if you will, that I think will brighten others' days and meet unspoken needs. The "sacrificial" element comes from the fact that any time or materials needed to complete these projects will have to come out of the money in the budget and hours in the day I already have. I am confident I can make it happen.

My original plan had been to involve all of you, to invite you on this journey with me. I had intended to set up weekly Mr. Linky's so that you could all document your hospitality projects and share here. But, hmm, did I mention that it's already Ash Wednesday? It would be unfair at this point to expect you all to jump on in. So, instead, I will be sharing my experiences with you each week. I'll announce my project for the week each Thursday and give an update on how the previous week's went.

Be on the lookout tomorrow for my first mission. I'll be starting kind of small. :) Please feel free to join in! I would love to read about your experiences in the comments or, if you blog about it, leave your link in the comments so I can be sure to hop over and read it. If there is significant interest in this type of project, I'll be more than happy to host a more organized version later in the year-- after all, hospitality is most certainly not something we need to limit to Lent.


Mary said...

I really like your lenten concept. It is so true that we all have so much to give - not necessarily give up, even if just a smile.

Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
- Mother Teresa

Miche said...

What a wonderful idea!! I'm looking forward to hearing your service activities each week. And how old is your daughter now? What a little miracle she is! My son JR was a month early (my water broke for some reason) Not bad, but still scary! He's a really active, 8 month old EATING MACHINE now!

Rochelle said...

I am so glad I found your blog. I am also working on my own Lenten Journey. Before I took the kids to CCD and Ashes yesterday we talked about the exact same thing!
They are not required yet to follow the Lenten Obligations but I really think it's good for them to do something small. Also- I am seriously overprotective of my children as well. They are not even allowed to walk down our block to their friends house without me or my husband watching and they are 10 and 8!

JessieLeigh said...

Mary- I completely agree. :)

Miche- My daughter is now a thriving 3 year old. It is ALWAYS scary to give birth prematurely, I think, but I know I have learned so much from the experience. So glad your son is doing so well!

Rochelle- I'm glad you found me too! My children are very young and, at this stage, I think the best thing I can is model the behaviors for them. If they see me reach out to others, it will seem natural to them to do the same as they grow. At least, this is my hope for them!

kirwin said...

JessieLeigh~ I managed to find you and your wonderful project. looks great. And inspiring. I'm absolutely going to try to follow along--we can support each other and give each other ideas.