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Welcoming Strangers

I did not put on makeup today. Just didn’t waste the time or makeup.

I have a self-imposed deadline. Focused. Busy. Putting a manuscript together. And it’s not going well. My house, a mess. Not my priority.

My husband calls from two doors down the road.

“Well, I met the guy who is cleaning the pond tomorrow. He worked all day in Central Arkansas, then drove up here, pulling big equipment. He is worn out. Can you make a meal for him? Will you feed him?”

I know I should welcome strangers, so I say, “Okaaaay. When will you guys be here?”

“In about five minutes.”

We get off the phone, I bite my lip, roll my eyes.

Inconvenient. I create stress inside myself by how I think. I recognize this, and still, I press molars together.

Quickly, I stack and clear papers from one end of the long dining table. I say to the Lord, “Okay, Lord, we just had a lesson at the Sisters’ Journey about welcoming strangers. I know I need to do this, but You have to help me. Otherwise, I am going to fail at this welcoming hospitality job.”

I make a conscious decision to not worry about how I look. I put on lipstick and call it “done.”

Next, I turn to the refrigerator and say to myself, “Keep it simple.”

A mean thought comes: Does my husband thinks meals appear by magic? Lord, help me.

Some little part inside me recognizes this as an opportunity, an opportunity to welcome a stranger on the spur of the moment.

Out here in the middle of nowhere, where strangers do not come, God is bringing us a stranger to welcome and feed.

And this happens two days after I’ve studied a chapter on Welcoming Strangers!

I find homemade vegetable soup in the refrigerator and put it in a pot. I have plenty. I heat a skillet and lay out the makings for grilled cheese sandwiches. Enough to make a meal.

I breathe. The light flickers.

It’s all okay. I give up my own agenda. I let it go.

My husband and a stranger come in the door. The soup is bubbly and the second sandwich is sizzling in the skillet.

Greetings, exchanged. My husband says, “We usually say a prayer.” We bow heads and the man (not my husband) starts praying aloud! He prays an angelic prayer of thanksgiving for the food and his safety, plus a blessing for us!

Suddenly, I am stunned and more than grateful for this stranger, grateful my husband followed his inner urge to help him, grateful God brought him our way.

Later, I sort my thoughts as I sort socks, knowing I don’t deserve the blessing I received.

But thankfully, God does not give any of us what we deserve. He gives us gifts of the right people and things, time, life, and strangers who sometimes bless us.

Thy will be done… (Matthew 6:10)

Blessings to each of you.

Pat Durmon

P.S. – Comments, welcomed.

Photo by Pat Durmon at her home in the Ozarks, September, 24, 2017.

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