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.