I take great delight in remembering my parents’ willingness to set more places at the table, and add a little more food to what was already being prepared, in order to accommodate friends and clergy who just happened to show up unannounced at the dinner hour. I am cheered to have a husband who happily bows to my wish of inviting people to join us for dinner. It is a relaxing and enjoyable way to get to know new people better, and to relax with old friends.
Nearly every one of my family’s pastors have been in my parents’ home, or years later in my husband’s and my home. Only one refused our invitations. Politely, but definitively. He explained that since he couldn’t go to each parishioner’s home, he wouldn’t go to any parishioner’s home. [Setting aside the question of whether he could, in fact, go to every parishioner’s home who was willing to open the door, is another question entirely.] I personally thought this choice was dumb. Not wicked, or anything substantial, just dumb.
Several years ago I read a journal article by a young doctor talking about the old practice of medicine where doctors often went to patients homes when they were ill. The writer reflected how helpful it is medically, to see how your patients live. I would say that the same is true about many professions, and certainly true for clergy.
I had that old style doctor when I was growing up. In fact, he was our family doctor who delivered me. He came to our house over the years for many illnesses in the family, including when I landed in the hospital with tonsillitis as a child. It was a very different time than now. When I was born, he and his wife gave my parents a white baptismal dress for me. Alas it was about three months too large for me at the time I was baptized so I did not wear it on that occasion. However his wife was delighted when I wrote her many years later to tell her that the lovely white dress finally fulfilled its intended use. It was worn by my daughter when she was baptized, at exactly three months of age, a day chosen so that her grandparents and extended family could travel to our town to join their prayers with those of the congregation in worship with us on that special day.
We have not yet had the honor of having our present pastor and his family to dinner. (So, if you are reading this, please don’t feel slighted!) However, we have had the pleasure of spending some time laughing and visiting with a several different people from our parish after inviting them over for a meal. Just a chance to relax and talk and get to know each other a bit better. We were recently invited to share a delightful Thanksgiving meal at the deliciously comfortable and lovely home of friends introduced to us by my husband’s sister and brother-in-law, along with four other friends, all of whom we have come to know through my in-laws. Words do not do justice when attempting to express the enjoyment of such a visit.
Yesterday I finished writing my letter of resignation to the head of Human Resources at my present job. I will hand deliver it tomorrow. It is effective at end of day Thursday, December 21. Having told my immediate supervisor already, it has been nice to have some unhurried time to say leisurely goodbyes to colleagues, instead of hasty farewells on my last day. I have written about my job and some of my interesting and helpful colleagues before. I don’t know what will transpire when I leave my employment there, but I suspect a few of my colleagues may become lasting friends. I do hope so.
Our house isn’t a show place. It is a mixture of old and new, tattered and nice. We don’t expect anyone to be wowed by our home, or by our cooking. However, my husband and I think that it is just possible, that those who accept our invitation, may discover that good conversation, and a good time may ensue. It often happens when friends, new or old, sit down to a meal.