Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Humility Looks Like

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time with hospitality.  Not on the giving end - I adore being on the giving end.  I enjoy opening my home to friends - new and old.  To make a comfortable home and share it with those I love, to fill the stomachs of those I love with good food, and to serve my friends copious amounts of coffee and iced tea - I love this part of hospitality.

What is difficult is being on the receiving end of hospitality.

I'm not talking about going to a friend's home to enjoy dinner and conversation.  I'm talking about the part of hospitality when I am on the broken end and need others to minister to my body and soul.  Why is that part of hospitality so difficult?

I'd like to believe that it's because I'm such a strong woman, I don't need help ever.  But that's a lie.  The truth is I struggle with pride, and in moments of weakness pride rears her ugly head and makes herself known.

There is nothing like having a baby to put you and your pride in your place.

Let's forget the part where you go to the hospital and put yourself at the mercy of others to help you labor and birth your little one into the world.  Or in my case, willingly lay down on a table and be sliced open to bring your little one into the world.  The IV's and gaping open hospital gowns you rock in pre-op as they pump 3 bags of fluid in quick succession into your body in the hopes of staving off any signs of nausea and vomiting on the operating table.  Only the OR inevitably runs late and you're left running with your IV pole and gapping hospital gown to the bathroom 84,000 times before you even get to surgery.  Then post-op, having to rely on complete strangers to help you learn how to walk again and pee again...yes these things ruffle pride's feathers and make her uncomfortable, to say the least.

But it's really the after part that's the most difficult.  After you leave the hospital and are trying so desperately to return to some form of normal life...only there is no normal and you still need people to help.  This is the part I struggle with.

It has been more than 2 weeks since my sweet little Poppy entered this world.  Pain medication is long gone and I can drive a car again.  Theoretically I can return to my life as super mom {ha!}.  So when a very sweet woman from our church called to set up a time to come visit us and bring us a meal from the church and a little gift for our kids, I thought "Oh how fun!  I can't wait to introduce her to our baby girl and show off the nursery" and visions of my perfectly clean house and perfectly dressed children ran through my head.

Well friends, today was the day and let me tell you, there was nothing perfect about what went down.

It started yesterday with a quick day-trip across the great state of Texas to visit grandparents, which resulted in us getting home after 1am this morning.  We were already delirious from pushing our 30 year old bones to the extremes of travel with a newborn and a toddler, but our sweet little Poppy wasn't done.  Oh no...she wanted to have a party all. night. long.  I think we finally got to sleep at 4 or 5, woke up with Poppy again at 7 and then crashed again.

So at 10:30 this morning I was still in bed when our guest showed up at our door.  The only person in my house who was dressed was the Kiddo and he had breakfast smeared all over his face and his hair stood up on end like he had just been electrocuted.

I did the quick switching out of pajama pants for jeans, threw my hair into a ponytail, and ran to the door.  I didn't even look around the house to see what it looked like.  I did not see the chair our puppy ate yesterday, sitting sadly in the corner with stuffing pulled out at every seam.  I didn't even take a second to do a "pit check" to make sure I didn't smell.  And I most certainly did not realize that Poppy and I had gone our maximum number of hours since her last "snack".  So as I opened the door to cheerfully invite our guest in for a visit, and tried to discreetly wipe yesterdays mascara from underneath my eyes....as this sweet lady {who I have never before met in real life} is bringing in casseroles and gifts from the church for our kids...this is the moment my body decides to fail me and my pride takes a huge beating.  That "all of a sudden my shirt is wet and holy crap how do I hide this???" moment....yes friends, that was me this morning.  Welcoming a complete stranger into my home with my daughter's mid-morning snack running down one side of my shirt and sleeve.  There is no hiding that y'all.

I was mortified.  I still am.  Our visit was short and I would have loved to sit and chat with her for much longer, but honestly I'm not offended that she left quickly.  I imagine she couldn't wait to leave our chaotic mess of a house and the leaky lady with the wet shirt.

But the thing is...I know I really shouldn't be mortified.  What took place this morning is real life.  Real life isn't neat and tidy with a bow on top.  And it is pure pride that makes us put on our "happy" faces and "everything is perfect" attitudes when we walk into church...a place where we should be at our sincerest.

I'm going to level with you...if it were one of my girlfriends or cousins at my door, we would have laughed at the timing and I would have gone to change my shirt.  But because it was someone I had never met before I desperately wanted to look like I had everything together, even though I clearly didn't in this moment.  Why am I more inclined to be less "real" with the Bride of Christ?  Why am I so quick to try to hide any trace of weakness when I am human and therefore completely fallible?

It's my pride that makes me worry that this sweet lady is going to head back to the church saying "Oh y'all...that family! The house was a mess, their dog ate the stuffing out of one of their chairs, and the mom's shirt was soaked through!"  Isn't the whole point of ministering to new moms and dads to help them in a moment when they desperately need help {even if we won't admit it}?  So why am I so afraid of {non-existent} disapproving looks and imperfection?  Am I really so vain that I'm only okay if I'm on the serving side of the equation?

The hard truth is apparently I am.

I have no pearls of wisdom on this one.  I have no answers or remedies.  All I have is a cup of coffee, good music, and this moment of realization that perfection is not required.  Today I choose to sit in this pocket of grace and not reflect too much on things I cannot control.

1 comment:

  1. Bless your heart! I can only imagine how you felt, but I know you handled everything with grace. I too struggle with appearing more put together than I am with the Bride of Christ. I have wondered myself why in the place I should feel most loved and accepted am I more caught up in a show. Perhaps because even the Bride of Christ is made up of humans, and humans can be hurtful. Thank goodness we have a God who reminds us that even when we are in thick of our ugliness, sin, and pride..He'll glad call us His and pick us up right where we are. I think it's our flesh that makes it so hard to be truly vulnerable and transparent when we need it most.

    Please let me know if I can do anything for you or your sweet family. No changing out of pajamas necessary!