a young couple with one child and another on the way. Yes, I have been watching. Some would say "snooping," but I prefer "being aware." Our snug gives us the best view of neighborhood activity.
The house had been on the market for some time, and finally, the right people, the right time, and the right house became the right match.
I thought about our many move-in days over the years. Exciting and exhausting both. My goal on each of our move-in days was to make our beds and hang towels in the bathrooms. Once we had a place to sleep we were on our way to being home. I wonder how they all slept that first night.
When our daughter Kate was two, we moved into the house where we lived for eighteen years. We moved there on a bitterly cold January day and like our new neighbors, we moved ourselves with help from family. All our plants died as they were transported from our small bungalow not far away into a big, drafty 1906 Victorian. But our excitement kept our hearts warm, and we knew we were at the beginning of the next stage of our lives.
At the end of the day when we collapsed in our living room, the doorbell rang. A neighbor stood on the front porch, introduced himself, and handed over a bottle of Bailey's Irish Creme. Now that is what I call a welcome! We were delighted with the gift, but what was more important was the feeling of being welcomed.
A few years later a new governor of Minnesota was elected and moved into the Governor's Mansion just a few blocks away from our house. Kate, who was 4 or so at the time, said, "Mommy, when are we going to take cookies to the new family?" I was a bit puzzled by the question because we didn't have any new neighbors on our block just then. I asked her to explain, and she reminded me that the governor was a new neighbor, too, "and we always bring cookies when someone new moves in."
So, we made cookies and we walked up the to mansion and rang the bell outside the big iron gate. A security guard came to the gate, and we told him our mission. He took the cookies and said he would see that the governor received them. I don't know if he did or not, but Kate was satisfied.
We have been welcomed warmly when we have moved into a different house, but other times our appearance did not seem to have even been noted. Each move, however, has taught us something about the gift of hospitality, whether it has been extended to us or not.
This week I will make a loaf of zucchini or banana bread or maybe some muffins or cookies, and I will walk across the street and ring the doorbell of our new neighbors. "Hi, my name is Nancy, and we are so happy you have moved here."
Sometimes our new neighbors look like us. But sometimes our new neighbors, whether they actually move onto our block or not, seem different from us, and it may not be as comfortable to welcome them, but they need our gift of hospitality, too. I hope I remember that lesson everyday wherever I am. Not just on my block.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing that some have entertained angels
When have you experienced the gift of hospitality and when did you last extend a welcome?