It was Easter weekend and the card came in the mail. A beautiful card, simply signed, “Virginia.”

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She wrote a note that began: Dear Friends.

Dear friends? How can she call us “dear friends” when we always seem to be so busy? Our lives are sometimes utter chaos, as we barely wave to her when we pass her house. Aren’t dear friends ones who have regular access to our lives? Who are there with you in thick and thin? I was so touched by the sincerity of this card from my neighbor.

Then the phone call came.

A message was left by Virginia saying, “I’m home now!”

The sad part is I wasn’t even aware that she was gone. It was at that point that I began to feel convicted, because this generous woman clearly loved and needed our family more than we knew.

Virginia’s gift for hospitality has blessed our family now for 4 years. When we moved into this home, I went around our neighborhood introducing myself and our family. I exchanged phone numbers and in Virginia’s case, I told her if she EVER needed anything to call me. And she has several times, and we have helped her in various ways.

The word “hospitality” seems to be a scary word for many. Because in our busyness I believe we are fearful of a commitment, or a taking away from “us” time.

The blessing of hospitality, and I’ve tried to teach it to my children, can be as simple as taking a piece of leftover cake or pie to your neighbor. Or like today when I took a red planted pot down to Virginia and left it by her front door. It’s this kind of hospitality that doesn’t have anything to do with whether you have a home, the state of your home, or the expectations in your home.

It’s important to make others feel loved and special, especially the lonely who may feel sad inside. It’s the little touches that make a difference in lonely lives.

Hospitality has nothing to do with gourmet food, a perfect home, or even perfect timing. It sometimes starts with a spark, thinking about others first, and then acting on that idea by following through with a blessing. It’s about friendliness, a caring attitude, and sometimes that means putting the grumbling aside.

And on this day, it was about spending $5 for a pot and a few pansies to give to Virginia.

When’s the last time you showed loved to a neighbor by stepping outside of your comfort zone?