Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Give Thanks

Today I spent an hour or two playing "Go Fish" with Aidan while I blogged. (He beat me every time. So did LarryBoy, he played a hand too.) I thought I went through every picture in my camera, but I was driving today, I realized I forgot one of the most important posts of all! The one on being thankful!

We usually are fortunate enough to have two Thanksgivings, one with James family, and one with mine. We, (James and I) decided for the second Thanksgiving, we would always try and invite people who don't have anyone to spend the holiday with. Now.... saying that I must add that last year none of the people I invited were able to come, so we just asked a bunch of friends. This year we were slotted to have seven international students, and only two were able to come.

So we have had good intentions, but have not always been able to follow through.

I enjoy being hospitable, for the most part. I admit I tend to get a little stressed out, and depending on who the guests are, my stress level rises. I get really nervous about inviting people over who I perceive are "better" than we are. People James knows through work, or people who live in better suburbs than we do, or bigger, nicer houses than we do. Our house is small, and old, and not all of the things I always wanted, so sometimes I find myself thinking, "If only we had a better house, I could be so much more hospitable." I have been debating having my department over for Christmas and have held off because I perceive that our little house and big old TV and lack of hi-tech equipment might be rather boring to them.

So last Saturday when James brought our guests for Thanksgiving dinner, they wanted to see around our house. I was busy in the kitchen but over and over I heard them exclaiming, "This is like my dream house! I wish we could have a house like this in China. You even have a yard and a creek!" They were thankful for every morsel of food, for every minute they spent in our home. They even sent us a thank-you within minutes of arriving back at their apartment. And in just a few short weeks they will pack up and head back to their government issued apartments.

Humbling, isn't it. Our life here is rich by many other nations standards, and I am feeling inferior because we don't have the latest and greatest. How embarrassingly selfish. I need to learn to be more thankful for what the Lord has given me, and take the time and opportunities available to share what I have. Because I am very blessed.


rinse*repeat said...

I'm the same way, in not wanting to invite over those I feel have bigger and better than me!

Isn't it incredible to look at your own life through the eyes of someone from another country? Suddenly my tiny apartment and meagar budget seem so much more workable and liveable.

Glad to hear you had a great Thanksgiving :)

Valerie said...

My students are sharing the same thoughts as they get ready to return to the US. We did an exercise yesterday as a part of a re-entry seminar of what they will miss most and least about Mérida, what they missed most about the US, what they would do differently if they had the experience to do over again and what one piece of advice they would give to the next semester. Anyway, the bottom line is re-entry into one's own culture can be almost as difficult as adapting to a new culture. Hmmm...why am I writing this here? I have my blog topic for today! Thanks, Naphtali.

JG Collection said...

WOW what a blog...and great insite on what really matters these holidays! The size of your heart is the only thing we should be worried about. And Nat you always put so much effort and thought into your dinner parties....you are an amazing person and have so much to offer!! It's not the size of your house you should worry about but the size of your "home"!! i love visiting your "home"!

Stacy said...

Totally true Napht. Oh, and don't worry, you're not alone in the tv department. Our tv is so old and big - and the VHS player that still sits on top of it can help attest to it's age!

downthegardenpath said...

so it's not the biggest house in the 'burb - the house is not the main attraction. your family and interactions is (are?)the reason we come to visit. you have a knack for making people feel welcome. and in this case the time with iris and andy was really a treat.

jenica said...

Ha, We've never bought a tv, just gotten my parents old ones...and they are old.

I enjoyed your thoughts. I think we all experience those feelings. It's just a matter of not letting them take away from how the Lord wants to use you. (And squelch a spirit of gratitude.) Hospitality is one of the best ways reach into other's lives.

Thanks for the reminder. I've been hung up on my floors lately. :)

Marybeth said...

So that's why you don't invite us over huh? We are better than you but I thought you were okay with that and coping :) Just kidding! You've been to our messy/cluttered house so when you go home you feel better about your situation...that's what I'm here for :) I hope my boys never knocked over your picture frames :)

Secondstreetdesigns said...

DOn't worry MB- it isn't you! i don't even care if they get knocked off the wall.... I would just think if your kid does it EVERY TIME, multiple times during the same visit you would help them down the stairs. that's all. remeber- i said they don't read my blog. :)