Saturday, October 25, 2008

Care-Choked vs. Hospitably Connected

The farmer's markets in Lincoln are closed for the season, and I am left feeling a bit sad and wistful. When I lived in Asia, going to the open market was an almost-daily activity that allowed personal interaction and language practice. I got to know my regular fruit, vegetable, and meat sellers--or rather they got to know me. Sometimes I would just sit down in a friendly shopkeepers store and chat in Vietnamese or Chinese, depending on my location at the time.

Instead of improving my foreign language conversation skills, my energies are now directed toward getting the best deals, clipping coupons, making sure we have the groceries we need for the week. It was nice to not have to concern myself so much with those things during the years we lived abroad.

Meanwhile, I think of women that I know here and now who I really should call and get together with, yet there never seems to be enough time. Unless it is a regularly scheduled playgroup or MOPS meeting, people get crowded out. If a friend called me, I would gladly find a time to meet. Yet for me to take the initiative is hard. When would we meet? Where? The chaotic state of my house is a formidable barrier to connecting with people. How can I leave when it looks as it does? How can I ever host even a friend?

Perhaps these same thoughts lead to other women doing as I do--wishing for more fellowship but struggling to take concrete steps to build it into the rhythm of life. The crush of undone tasks is overwhelming. But perhaps we could bear one another's burdens? Take turns watching each other's kids so one person can catch up on important tasks at home. Then, if the urge to invite someone over strikes, or a friend stops by unannounced, we can welcome them unabashedly, as my shopkeeper friends in China and Vietnam always seemed to do.

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