Skip to main content

the messy business of hospitality and gift cards...

Amazon marketplace is a wonderful place. You can buy virtually anything you can think of from there with frequent perks of free shipping and next day delivery. It's beautiful.

Katie was given a very generous $100 gift card to Amazon for her birthday not too long ago. She stashed it away with all the other gift cards we get--behind the Kitchen Aid mixer in a small plastic bag. It's where gift cards go to rest until we are ready to use them; a logical decision to keep your wallet from becoming a brick-sized leather lump to rest your buns upon.

Katie has been looking at different things she wanted to get with this gift money and putting them in her shopping cart until she had the full dollar amount, figuring she would pay for it all at once. Well just about a week ago Katie was finally ready to check out and make her purchases. Except...the gift card wasn't in the baggy. She asked me if I had recently used it or misplaced it and I assured her that I hadn't seen it or touched it, as it was her birthday money, not mine.

After searching high and mostly low, it was deemed that the card was lost, or more probable--stolen. I thought back over the past month: a birthday party that featured 50-some guests, a praise band social gathering that featured another some 50 participants, not to mention about a dozen smaller gatherings of family, friends, and neighbors who had all been through our house within the span of about 35 days. The card could have disappeared at any of these events and indeed it is probable that it did. We had a similar situation turn up with a $75 gift card to Kroger that we received shortly after the twins were born. At the time we didn't think much of it, just that it had become misplaced or perhaps that our sleepless brains were misremembering how and when we spent it.

My initial reaction was anger, then betrayal. Someone had come into our house and stolen something that belonged to us! It was one thing if they had asked for it, but to take it without our knowledge...that was a low blow. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was upset about losing money that wasn't mine in the first place. Indeed, it wasn't even Katie's. It was a gift. It was unexpected spending money that we weren't calculating to begin with, so why did it hurt all of a sudden to lose it now? Had we just become so attached to the money that we couldn't bear the thought of letting it go? Was it that we didn't have a chance to say goodbye to the money? Was it that we didn't get anything in exchange? Upon further reflection, all those questions seem a bit foolish, and there was little to do about it now anyway, so we let it go.

And that's right about when I had the epiphany--being hospitable is messy business. 

 When you open your home and your life to others you welcome their good and their bad. Being a host is a rewarding and indeed, a biblical principle (Romans 12:13), but that doesn't mean that it is safe. Things get soiled, broken, stolen, used, abused, or mistreated when guests come over. Either because they don't know the rules of your stuff, they don't care, they are unfamiliar, are greedy, or just are more careless than you. But you know what? That's okay. I would rather be hospitable and lose possessions than to close myself from being able to practice generosity and opening my home and my life to others. 

"If a penny saved is a penny earned, is a penny stolen the same as a penny given?"
-my brain

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Imitation: Diets, Houses, and Faith

There were 3 options for my preschoolers to choose from: Honey Bunches of Oats, Cocoa Pebbles, or Raisin Bran. I set all 3 on the table and asked each child which cereal they would like to eat for breakfast; all three chose 'Honey Boats.' After pouring their cereal and getting each kid situated, I poured myself a bowl of Raisin Bran and we all got to munching.

When Isaiah (my oldest) finished his cereal first he asked if he could have more. Sure thing, which one do you want? 
"That one" *pointing to the Raisin Bran*
Surprised I pour him a bowl of Raisin Bran, surprised that he ate the entire bowl.

As we were cleaning up our bowls from the table after breakfast I realized that the Cocoa Pebbles were not touched this morning, not even mentioned. Odd, I thought, typically the chocolately-sugary cereals don't last a week at our house. And yet this is the same [big] bag of Cocoa Pebbles that we opened over a month ago. Why the sudden lack of interest?

****************…

Running Start

"The worst that could happen is wet shoes and a broken ankle."
Those were the encouraging words Katie offered as we walked around the backside of the pond a second time.

On the front side of the pond was a little island, about 7 feet away from the shoreline. It appeared to be the home for the geese and ducks who flocked about the water that warm winter day. From a distance it looked like an easy jump to make it from the bank to the island, but the closer I got to the edge of the pond, the further the jump appeared to be. I definitely knew I wouldn't be able to make the distance from a standing jump but I felt fairly confident I could make the jump with a running start.


If it was just a matter of jumping from point A to point B, I would have attempted the jump with no hesitation, but there was some risk involved. Wet shoes, a broken ankle, and wounded pride were all fairly low risks overall, but still, it was enough to make me second-guess my parkour abilities.

So I decid…

You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone

WLC Day 2

We are officially in the crave stage.
And we're only 36 hours in...

Hopefully this stage will subside soon and be replaced by some kind of a longing stage, which somehow feels less intense.

Here's the thing folks: I really, really want to eat a chocolate chip cookie.
But I can't.

The Whole Life Challenge involves an 8 week sugar detox, as well as refraining from these non-compliant foods. The first 24 hours is fun, because it's new and different and I feel really good about what I'm doing. But my body hadn't caught on yet.
Now it seems to be upset at the lack of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other artificial sweetners that I have been refusing to feed it.
And it has every right to feel that way.
I have regularly fed my body a big healthy dose of sugar during and after every meal: breakfast, lunch and especially dinner. My body has learned to expect subsequent helpings of the sweet stuff as I have given it no hesitations about anticipating when…