It's been a crazy busy, but pleasurable, week as my grandmother came to visit and stay with me again. I've written before about some of the things I love about having her here, but it seems that I learn something new with every visit.
This week's lesson was hospitality, but it didn't really sink in until after she left this morning. Let me tell you what I mean.
When company's coming, we make this incredible effort to make room before they get here. We tidy things up and lay things out and shove the dust bunnies back under the couch (because who has the time to get the vacuum out?) and basically make this emptied space so that when we open our door and they walk in, there is a place ready to receive them and whatever they might bring.
And as the time goes by, we do our best to be gracious in hosting - helping with a loved one's baggage, showing them around the kitchen, pointing out the little things they might need during the course of a stay. We do our best to make our home like their home so that they are comfortable, even if for a few days, it doesn't look like our home any more. (And that's ok. It doesn't seem to matter much in the exchange - what an incredible gift of love it is to have someone comfortable enough to stay with you.)
We consider that hospitality.
But as I helped grandma load her car this morning and saw her out of the driveway, I came back in and looked around at this place that has kind of become our home. Mine and hers. This place that we've had together. My normal instinct is to clean up (again) even though nobody's coming home now but me. My gut says to put things back the way they were before I made this extra space that, let's be honest, I'd already filled with stuff. I mean, that's how life is - it expands to fill whatever space you've got and if you want to make space, you really have to carve it out.
Today, I didn't.
Oh, I could have. My computer was corrupted by the powers that be and it took more than 8 hours just to get the darned thing turned on. Between reboots and reloads and the mess of all that, I had plenty of time to get things done. And I did. I worked on some crafting I needed to do, a few things outside that needed to be tended. I ran a few errands, wandered the block for a bit. But I didn't "un-grandma" the house.
Because it hit me in that first little moment of silence that I kind of like this. I like having the grandma space in my home, even if she's not here right now to fill it. (She'll be back, I hope.)
I wonder how often we do this very thing, how often we're hurried to get things out of our lives so we can get back to normal. We're pretty good at making space for the things that come up now and then, but how good are we at honoring that space once those things are gone? Do we close back up and swallow the hole and find something to fill the emptiness? What would life look like if we took the opportunity to leave the space there, to open up something new, to find a way to live honoring what we already made room for and could make room for again but so often fail to have room for now?
There are so many things that come along that I feel like I make room for, things I carve out time in my schedule to take care of or to be with or to do. Things that are good, honorable, wonderful things that I enjoy in the moment...and then close my life back up around them instead of letting them carve into my life. Because I don't know, maybe life seems dark with this empty space. Maybe it's hard for a time to have a place that I don't know what to do with between what I did with it and what it might become. But I miss so many moments. I miss so many things that could be after I finish whatever I thought was. And the moment's still there.
I give up so much that I wish my heart would hold onto because it changes me...and I give it away for the sake of going back to my space. When the true space lies before me.
When that shadowed hour falls that demands I decide what to do with that special space, I'd be better off to make more room for the night.
And still one room for grandma. I mean, she cooks when she's here.