For the past couple days, I’ve been preparing to receive the No Longer Music band and crew into our home on Saturday (as in, tomorrow). They’ll be arriving around 2 pm, having lunch at our place and then heading in to Faro to set up and do their show right in front of the Mall, in a very centrally located park. Following the concert, half the NLM team (10 people), including my husband Denny, who’s been away for over two weeks, and our 18-year-old son Isaac, who I haven’t seen in 7 months, will be staying over at our house (sadly, for just one night).
Receiving guests into our home is not a challenge for me at all. I so enjoy having a houseful of people: guys and girls from different countries, walks of life and of various ages! There is profound richness there; so much we can learn from and share with one another.
I love to make people feel welcome, special and loved, to offer them a place to rest and be restored, to cook recipes for them from the various countries we’ve lived in and traveled through. God has blessed us so abundantly and it’s my great pleasure to allow that to overflow onto everyone who passes through our lives and our doors.
But before we can get to the fun of receiving people, there are preparations that must be carried out. The house needs to be dusted, swept and mopped. Sheets and towels from last week’s guests have to be washed and hung out to dry so beds can be made up again. Bathrooms require cleaning. The yard and front porch must be put in order. There are meals to plan, then food shopping to do. The groceries to unload from the car and put into fridge and cupboards.
This part is less fun. Decidedly less fun. And since I’m home alone at the moment, it’s particularly decidedly less fun (Is that even grammatically correct? Oh, who cares.). And it’s a whole lot more work. So this has been my challenge on this 18th day of the 30: finishing up the preparations to receive this lovely crew tomorrow, despite my tiredness!
And while I’m going about this, I’ve been reflecting (as I so often do) on this whole process. We all love to receive something: whether it’s guests into our home, a husband or wife whom we’ve just married, a new baby, a long-awaited job, a vacation. There’s that joy in embracing this “newness”, this departure from our normal and everyday! It is life-giving and inspirational, rife with fresh experiences and wonderful challenges.
Yet most times, we have to walk through those less-than-exciting preparations before we get to the place in which we’re ready to receive. There’s a price to be paid. That whole getting-to-know-you time, with all its uncertainties before marriage. Those nine long months full of numerous changes in the mother-to-be’s body and mood. The studying or gaining qualifications and experience that open the doors for a new job. The years of work put in, the pennies saved and the planning before a special vacation.
I think of the verse
in Luke 14:28-30
Suppose one of you
wants to build a tower.
Won’t you first sit down
and estimate the cost
to see if you have enough money to complete it?
For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it,
everyone who sees it
will ridicule you,
‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
Enjoying the tower (or houseful of precious people, or you fill in the blank) is the fun part, the bit that we all long for. But if all our focus and desire is on savoring the end point, we just might give up along the way, as the preparations – the cost of reaching our objective – may not have been taken into account. And they often come with a couple of sidekicks named Weariness and Discouragement, that would be all to happy to see us throwing in the towel.
There’s something so rewarding, once we’ve put in those long hours (or days, months, years… ) in laying the groundwork, when we are then able to fully live and relish those moments we’ve been anticipating. So I keep that vision before me as I work today, knowing that the price I am paying is more than worth what I will enjoy tomorrow!
PS: With the concert happening tomorrow and our house overflowing with goodness, I will be taking the day off from blogging, but will catch up with you on Sunday!