There is a saying I remember from my teenage years, "When you can't go anywhere else, you can always go home". At the time I thought it meant that after I exhausted my list of fun and exciting places, such as my best friend's house or the mall, then I would head back to my boring house. Now that I am grown and have a home of my own, I can't think of any other place I want to be. In my home I feel safe and comfortable. Home is the one place where I can block out all the unpleasantness of the outside world. It's where I can climb into my warm familiar bed for restful sleep or put my feet on the coffee table and do nothing at all. It's the one place where I can snuggle my husband, daughter and dog to my heart's content. Everything I have come to treasure is in my home.
As a Christian there's another treasure in my home that I far too often forget about. In John 14:23, Jesus tells us, "if anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (NIV). What an awesome but intimidating thought is that? Not only is my ever-faithful dog waiting for me at home, but she's waiting alongside my God and my Jesus. They are waiting to talk with me, comfort me, strengthen me and be a part of my life.
Like any good southern woman, knowing I have house guests causes me to wonder if I have been hospitable enough. No, I don't mean making sure the dust-bunnies are out of sight and that there is plenty of sweet tea and a tasty dessert in the refrigerator (although, those are very important). What gives me pause is wondering if I have shown the most important house guests I will ever have the hospitality They deserve? Ironically, I have to stop and ask myself, is my family's home the first place They want to be, or as if a mirror image of my teenage self, would They prefer to be somewhere, anywhere, more inviting than my home?
Do they avert Their eyes and nervously shuffle Their feet when I speak gruffly to my husband and daughter because I'm in a constant rush when I get home from work? Would my house guests be embarrassed by the television programs we watch? Are they disappointed that meals I prepare for my family do not honor the bodies They gave us?
Most importantly, do I treat Them as I do other house guests, or do I send Them off into the sunroom to wait for me to find a free moment for Them. Do I hurriedly relay the day's events just before bedtime, nodding off before They have a chance to tell me what They have been sitting with the dog, patiently waiting to tell me all day long?
I am confident that I haven't been the best hostess I can be. In fact, I'm pretty sure my dog has been the better hostess. And I am very sure that if I had been treated the way my house guests have been treated, I wouldn't return, no matter how tasty the sweet tea may be. Fortunately, my houseguests haven't left yet and today when I push the button on the garage door opener, I will remember to put on my best southern smile, open the back door, pat the dog on the head and greet my houseguests with all the hospitality They deserve and desire.
Scarlett Farr lives with her husband, daughter and dog in Lizella, Georgia.