Saturday, November 26, 2005

"Be hospitable to one another without complaining"

My text for today is I Peter 1 Peter 4:9 "Be hospitable to one another without complaining."

I'm driving to NC today to return LD to the Lovely Aunts. LD will finish out the school year in NC in a great school, a loving environment and away from the misery of life behind the razor wire of the Gulf Coast.

LD's return to the Coast and home for Thanksgiving gave her a chance to see the destruction of Katrina and to be home with us for a few days. I've enjoyed having her home. Being able to call her name in the house and have her answer made me teary. Seeing her pretty self at our dinner table consoles all of us. She's had a pleasant time with her father and brother but, with me, she's been crabby, sour, hostile and impatient.

I believe my best response is understanding my parenting as a measure of the real meaning of hospitality.

When a child is being rebellious in speech and attitude, when a mom cannot please or ease a child in daily conversation, hospitality in the welcoming sense may be of help.

Not that I enjoy being the object of her crabbiness. I don't like being looked at as if I were the creepiest grossest mom in the world. I don't like having sarcastic comments thrown my way. I don't like it.

I like LD, though. She has great potential and underneath her 13 year old exterior is a loving heart. She has better skills with people than most adults. She's able to help people make connections with others, intuit where people are emotionally and be an effective listener.
She has the physicality of an athlete combined with really pretty American healthy good looks.
LD's sense of humor and playfulness is engaging as is her perspective on the world.

I see all these admirable traits, I just don't have any of them directed at me.

I know adolescence is a difficult time where children begin the separation from their parents and begin to make their own way. I did youth ministry for over 10 years. I worked in a psych hospital with adolescents. I've read the books. All this isn't helping my feelings about being treated as drek.

So, I return to hospitality. The concept of welcome, loving engagement with the other and a "nurse" of the Spirit to the ailing one. I can do this.

I can't do it easily without recalling how much I love who LD is and will be. Right now, I wouldn't take this crap from anyone but her.

As we move into Advent, the season of preparation, I aspire to hospitality for LD because she is preparing for adulthood and I am preparing for loving an adolescent who doesn't love me much.

I will be hospitable without complaining. Not a push-over or return crabbiness for crabbiness but hospitable.

God give me strength for the days ahead. Keep me aware of your greater purpose for LD. Thank you for the gift of this child in my care. Give me brains, courage and humor to be her Mom.
Your Son gave his Mama trouble, too, according to scripture, so help me out here. Amen.

St.C

12 comments:

Songbird said...

Oh, Amen to all that. Whether it's daughters or neighbors or parishioners, you have given us all something good to think about today.

Emily said...

I was going through some difficult times with someone, and a wise person said to me, "you know, he can do that to you because he knows you're safe, that you're not going to push him away." It probably means she knows how much you love her, even if she's being a pain.

Love your prayer at the end. File that one away for future reference.

annie said...

My youngest is fourteen. You have no idea how timely (and challenging) your words are for me. Thank you.

Quotidian Grace said...

From one who's been there fairly recently, let me assure you that even without the stress of Katrina-related events in her life, 13 is a tough age for moms and daughters. I was the target of the same treatment from Portia when she was that age.

It got better from ages 15 to 18 and now she can laugh about it with me. This, too, will pass!

I wish I had had your thoughts on hospitality back then--it would have helped me!

Aola said...

Yeah, it is really hard sometimes to just take their crap,look at them and say "I love you anyway" and go on with it.

mother of 15 year old girl and 18 year old boy (this one is getting easier) and (God help me, another teenager coming up) a 12 year old boy.

Lorna said...

my DD is 13 too

sigh I never knew it would be this hard.

as you say we wouldn't take it from anyone else.

thanks for this timely word St C. It helped me to push on ... instead of push away

Africakid said...

Last year was a "hellish" year with our youngest--thank God, we're finally starting to see the light! Ok, A. moved away from a neighborhood she'd lived in all her life, left a church we'd attended forever, came to an entirely new country...and to top it off, started middle school (never easy). But there's a reason I got my first grey hairs last year! Anyway, persevere, things will eventually get better. Grace, grace, and more grace, I pray for you.

peripateticpolarbear said...

You are a gracious mother !

Mary Beth said...

Thank you for this. I needed to hear it. Must say that any travel with my DSS, 16, gets very enervating toward the end...we are both tired and it's easy for me to snap back at him when he smarts off. :) Keeping this post in mind yesterday as we journeyed home helped me keep the snaps to myself!

I agree with Emily. I can remember being HORRIBLE to my mother at your LD's age, and feeling terrible about it somewhere deep down...and knowing that she would NEVER stop loving me no matter what a little XXX I was. "Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

My DSS's mom "threw him out" when he was 9. Told him she couldn't handle him anymore, and he'd have to go live with his dad. Which he did...DH and I had been together about 2 weeks at that time! So we have always been a family, even before we married.

I have seen the pain that the betrayal has caused him (he is not aware of it, sees his mom often, she is a lot more fun than I am!) and it increases in me the desire to provide a secure place for him that NOTHING can take away. That thing my mom gave me, the thing that moms are supposed to give their kids. IMHO.

Anonymous said...

St. C: ...dripping irony....they all look like me.........this in the opening line ..... later you stated that YOU didnt like being the object of this kind of hate .........AND you are a preacher ????? all of this in the context of an article about hospitality ..........dearly beloved preacher . if you love those in your imediate family and would " not take this crap from any one else " what good is that ? do not the evil people in the world love thier familys ? what more have you done than them ? Do you think Hitlers mama loved him ? Dont you know that you are held to a higher standard ??? If you must defend your calling to preach in a manner that is inconsistant with the message you are called to preach ............ARE you called to preach ?

Anonymous said...

St. C: ...dripping irony....they all look like me.........this in the opening line ..... later you stated that YOU didnt like being the object of this kind of hate .........AND you are a preacher ????? all of this in the context of an article about hospitality ..........dearly beloved preacher . if you love those in your imediate family and would " not take this crap from any one else " what good is that ? do not the evil people in the world love thier familys ? what more have you done than them ? Do you think Hitlers mama loved him ? Dont you know that you are held to a higher standard ??? If you must defend your calling to preach in a manner that is inconsistant with the message you are called to preach ............ARE you called to preach ?

Anonymous said...

sorry for the duplicate