Practicing Hospitality in a Pandemic


"Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:13

Last week I had a text that someone had adult mens winter gear, could I possibly swing by and pick it up? At the exact moment the text came in I had just dropped my freshman off for football and was worried about his lack of winter athletic gear, I had two foster children both not happy in carseats, our four year old angry about loosing glow in the dark teeth from Halloween and a nine year old trying to sell me on tic tok, vying for my full attention. Deep breath. Why on earth would I drive to a suburb and pick this stuff up? For some reason I decided I should do it so we made the thirty minute drive. Fast forward 48 hours a text came in copied here: "Hi there I got your number from a case aid in Ramsey County. He said you might have connections for clothing needs. It is a long shot but I help with a prison release program and I have a van load of guys without gear." Come Holy Spirit Come. 
It does not always work out this way. The connection piece, of making sure a kind donation actually meets a need, can be frustrating. Sometimes feeling at a loss to meet the needs of my children or foster children, can make me feel closed off from others. My oldest needs to figure out housing, and yet I can help a newly reunified family navigate a lease agreement? Why does God call me to serve others when I feel depleted? I don't have these answers. Late at night after saying a resounded "YES" to a newborn, I question my choice. Watching a baby detox is heartbreaking, and I feel powerless. But I guess showing up can be an act of love. 
This pandemic has left me feeling isolated at times, even with my amazing family. So I have to believe others are feeling this ten fold. How do we step into this void willingly and safely right now? 
I miss gatherings, and saying yes to watching extra kids. I still do it as much as is responsible and safe, but it is not the same. The aesthetic of prepping for a party, the beauty of candles and food, and decorations is stripped bare from the hospitality of helping those in poverty or rough life turns. 
I have to believe Christ sees the beauty in this form of hospitality. He sees the difficult car ride of crying kids, and poor map-quest directions. He sees the late nights of washing hand-me downs and folding them for kids I will never meet. The early snowy morning apartment drop offs that are anonymous. He sees this and supports me in a quiet form of giving. And maybe this will lead to others helping where I can not. Kindness to one of my children, or foster children. Knowledge about an area I just don't understand. The humility in serving strips away the ego, and leaves in it's place a willingness to learn. 
 "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."Philippians 2:4 
Three brothers bringing winter gear & clothing to a foster placement from the Together For Good Foster Closet. Most of the time divine serendipity does not just happen. It is countless hours of work by social workers, phone calls and dedication behind the scenes. Volunteers organizing clothing, packing things up and driving to a need request. 

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