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3.19.2008

Infertility and Hospitality

An extension of my love for cooking is a joy in offering hospitality. There is a feast of pleasure in showing care to others by welcoming them into our home and nourishing them with food made by my hands. Gathering in a place of comfort, enjoying the gifts of flavor and sustenance, and sharing conversation, laughter and fellowship around a table together - these are gifts of grace.

And infertility has partially robbed me of the chance to offer and enjoy those gifts. It is a strange plundering. Who would think that the inability to conceive would result in the lack of opportunities to show hospitality? A minor grievance, to be sure, but I do miss - sometimes with poignant pangs - the simple joy of having friends over for a meal. You see, because we don't have children, we are the mobile, flexible ones. That means that when we have dinner with friends, we go to them. I honestly can't remember the last time we had a married couple or family to our home for a meal. We've invited, but the invitation always ends up getting turned around for reasons of infant sleep habits or babysitting or something along those lines. And I understand; really, I do. I don't mean this as an indictment of any of our friends with children. It truly does make more sense, when we spend time together with other couples, for us to go to their homes and so prevent a lot of hassle. But every time we drive to have dinner with our married friends, I feel a tiny sorrow over yet one more loss inflicted by infertility.

Hospitality is service. I don't want to have people come to our home so that I can impress or entertain them; that's stressful, not fun. The joy of hospitality comes in using skills and gifts to serve our friends. What serves our friends most now is not to have them in our home, but for us to go to them with the flexibility that we didn't choose but nevertheless have in our childless state. The best way, it seems, for me to exercise hospitality currently is to get out of the house.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey girl...our family would happily come to your house for a meal...is this an invitation:) We are always there for ya!!!

Aleece

lifemoreabundant said...

Yet another thing I have also experienced. It's these little things people don't think about when they consider the "benefits" of being childless.

The other one we would get a lot was "There's just the two of you, so we also invited [fill in the name of a family with children] so the kids could play" and then the evening that could have been sweet fellowship ends up as just another time of smiling on the outside while parents have parent conversations.

Aaron said...

Yes, Aleece, this is an invitation.

Aaron

Mama Whitney said...

Wait! We're up for hangin' at your place as well! In fact, what a treat to NOT have to think about food for a change!

But, seriously, thank you for sharing this. It has opened my eyes and reminds me to not be so quick to assume things about others. There's a lot of "walking on eggshells" when we're around others who are "different" (you can choose the difference).

Thank you for pushing me in my thinking and walk. You're reminding me that when we push through those "differences" we see how we really are all the same, sinners saved by grace!

Grateful for you and your hubby!

Glenna Marshall said...

Yes, yes, yes--you are SO right! I have experienced the SAME thing, and I'm a pastor's wife, for cryin' out loud! It's my JOB to have people over...but it always gets turned around for reasons of getting kids to bed. :(

Jen said...

I have struggled with this too but I like how you ended the post--that challenges me a lot! Hugs to you

In Search of Morning Sickness said...

You know, I found this very interesting. I have definitely experienced this in regards to when I get together with another woman. Inevitably I go to her house. However, I haven't quite found it always true with married w/children friends. In fact, they often seem very relieved to be coming to our house and not having to cook! While they often leave earlier than we might have left their home, I still am grateful for that. I can only imagine how it must feel to agian and again have your own hospitality not able to be put to the use you desire.