Exercising the Hospitality Muscle Memory
As a little girl it took me forever to say, "I'm sorry." Always have and always will have a strong spirit. It is not easily budged for the "just because," answer.
I've learned by working my memory "forgiving" muscles over the years the easier it is for me to vocalize an "I'm sorry." It's like anything in life. When I first learned how to roast a chicken I read the instructions thoroughly, had my ingredients mise en place, seasoned the bird, set the timer, used the thermometer testing the thigh temperature, allowing it to rest to keep the juices in the chicken and carving it. It has led to fantastic results to slightly dry birds; but, one thing is constant, the consistency of training the muscle memory.
Professional athletes, head surgeons, virtuoso musicians, well versed parents of 35 years all have this consistency of muscle memory in common. They have put in the hours, the grueling times, seen mistakes, doubted their ability, and thrown their hands up in retreat like all of us; but, what sets them apart is continuing in the drudgery to build up the basics (ie muscle memory).
I was reflecting upon this lovely picture our new friend Hosanna posted on Facebook. It captures new friends we just met days prior, ones who we were fortunate to share life with, have our girls learn what it means to love the other, and what it means for me to stop making excuses for my cooking or my children's behavior. This picture signifies pulling out fish and loaves, blessing it and hoping God makes it stretch. It represents all of me pouring myself out is never enough, for I am weak and weary, easily discouraged.
Still, it gives me such hope to keep at this thing called hospitality, even when my children act more like wild animals than little girls with their behavior and manners. It gives me hope, because working my muscle memory to keep at it reminds me how much I rely upon my Jesus to love through me. It reminds me how we are all broken people desperately looking for other broken people to share a meal so we can rest in our humanness. More so, we can rest in a Saviour who was God with skin on. He came to rub shoulders, to understand the desperation in our voices, our eyes to give us hope.
I can't think of a better reflection of why I want to keep exercising the hospitality muscle memory in me. If it means I get to bring the hope of Jesus to my own brokenness and all who gather with me, I consider the work worth it.
**Be sure to sign up for Redeeming the Table newsletter, "At the Breakfast Nook."