It has been a rainy week and a half in the soul for me. Many hours spent holding a sick, not-so-sick and then just plain teething baby (tooth #6 has appeared!). Days filled with doing the right thing by postponing social engagements and then wondering why I am not getting anything else done. Yesterday, the babe was happier and I reorganized the pantry cupboards as part of our ongoing struggle against a little mouse crusader who thinks he should have a home in Sunnyside Cottage. The answer is no. Friendly mice with good manners only appear in books.
I do appreciate rainy days for how much they lend themselves to thinking. The steady thrumming of raindrops on our tin roof turns my thoughts into dreams and principles and deep meditations. I feel like the weightier things of life are easier to grasp on rainy days.
So I have been thinking on things like hospitality and family values and what we need to be happy. Considering the concept of giving kindness to strangers and what that means and what is my motivations (selfish or unselfish?) and how to receive gratefully. I felt this concept keenly a few days ago. While in a retail store, a young woman approached me while I was holding Devereaux and looking at a baby winter hats. She smiled, took a single pink rose from the bouquet in her hands and said, "for you." I was stunned and simply said, "thank you." And then I smiled for the next hour. I didn't question why she gave me a rose. I just accepted it for what it was --- kindness freely given. And I was challenged by this gesture to a complete stranger.
Kindness to strangers is a concept demonstrated throughout Scripture.
Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers,
3 John 1:5
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
1 Timothy 5:10
As a perspective-shifter for those given to the season of mothering little ones right now, this passage of Scripture is talking about the qualifications of a widow - what her good works throughout life looked like... and the FIRST thing listed, "if she brought up children." This is simply an encouragement, less we forget that motherhood is a holy calling and the home is a sacred place in which ministry happens. Sometimes that ministry includes and extends to strangers.
Photos from our rainy Saturday at the cabin.