Fifteen years of history, I see as I’ve flipped through the index cards that I have rubber-banded together. I see names of couples and families, along with faces etched in my mind. The dates of when we had these families over, or even what I served, is not what’s gnawing at me. No, the “names” and memories are what’s staring at me …

What has happened to this couple? Why did they divorce? We used to have so much in common! Oh, the pain that their family has endured … as I think of one couple in particular who did divorce, and then a few years later they lost a child.

My mind then takes off and starts to contemplate relationships. We’re made for them, we’re to pursue them, we need them – but oh so often they can turn into a painful situations as things don’t turn out the way we expect. It’s true that differences, different paths, or even pride can get in the way of what was once a close-knit relationship. Sometimes they change because they’re no longer healthy. We all grow and mature and sometimes life takes us in different directions.

But there is still a memory. A strong feeling. A good feeling. A deep feeling of love. That is what hospitality is all about.

The great writer Henri Nouwen describes hospitality as “a central attitude of the minister who wants to make his own wounded condition available to others as a source of healing.”

Being real and opening up our homes and lives with others can actually help heal our guest’s hurts. That is just a beautiful thought!

Back to my index cards that I started on Day #1 of my marriage: A set of index cards on which I recorded the name, date and what I served for my guests. I did this in fear that I would serve the same thing twice to my guests – God forbid! But little did I know that almost 20 years later, as I flip through these cards, that they would have deeper meaning …

“We do not know where we will be two, ten or twenty years from now. What we can know, however, is that man suffers and that a sharing of suffering can make us move forward.” (Henri Nouwen)

Do you ever reminisce about couples or individuals you’ve dined with?

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