Driving across the country feels like a waste of gas. Visiting attractions and mini marts gets old. But THIS trip had a completely unintended element that took over the entire experience: Hospitality. We crave adventure and our family has been the worst obsessors of it. We prioritize exotic photos and bucket list one offs and orient our lives around these thing. They create the most envy. But these things don’t last and are not the things that we will remember from THIS trip.
How traveling feels…Most driving time is spent in gas stations, traveling past hotels, trucker strip joints and thousands of billboards offering cheap comfort (usually in the form of fast food). There’s a general sense of homelessness that starts to take over and many cheap, temporary solutions are offered.
It was in this context that we pulled up to numerous people’s houses. They sacrificed their evenings, mornings, space, and money and prepared feasts for us. Twice they waited until 9pm to enjoy them with us. The feeling was indescribable.
We were being blessed but we realized we were also allowing others to be blessed by participating in a tradition that is as old as time but has been lost — hosting. Inconveniencing others is hard, especially strangers and dependence feels optional nowadays (especially for rich people). At times, staying with others was inconvenient for us. It is disempowering to be in a situation where we need others, even for a night. The transaction at a hotel or restaurant are much more clean and simple. Maybe too clean and simple. Because the true hospitality we experienced was unbelievably worth it. In the midst of clean beds, extravagant food, fresh coffee, trampolines, and pet rats we felt something you can’t buy on the road. We felt a sense of belonging and the cost of inconvenience became small.
In a way, I’ve come to believe that we’re all weary travelers looking for hospitality. Looking for a home. We’re not going to find it at the convenience stores of our lives. Or the fanciest hotels. We’re only going to find it in people who can love and in the Creator who’s image these people of hospitality are fashioned in.
Thank you to all who have participated in hosting our family, especially on this trip. It was far more than a meal and a bed. It was a connection. A relationship. And it wasn’t just human. You have forever changed the way we will travel on this earth.
Originally posted on FB 8/2/15