On three occasions I have had the privilege to be taken out to breakfast by my 80+ year-old neighbor. The first time was just about a month ago. Apparently she would have taken me sooner, but she didn’t think I would be able to eat anything because I don’t eat gluten. When she was talking to me about it last month, I assured her I could eat something there. No, I’m pretty sure it is not a gluten free place, but that doesn’t matter to me. Respect for people and the relationship comes before food sensitivities. I like being able to gladly accept what others offer, no matter how different it may be from what I am used to (though I haven’t been places that are too different). Going gluten free“ish” three years ago made it harder to do even though not eating gluten makes life much easier in general on my body. I still want to say “yes, I’ll receive” knowing that it will cause problems later. Sometimes I do and sometimes I try to politely decline.
On this particular day of breakfast and grocery shopping I had planned that we would take a slight detour in between to do some red umbrella adventuring. It wasn’t much of adventure in the sense of going far or going to places I had not been before, but it was something that I have never done with her and I’m pretty sure she had not done before. I talked to her about what we were going to do while eating breakfast. I showed her a few pictures of other adventures to help her understand. She at first said, “I will walk with you as you take the pictures” meaning she didn’t want her picture taken. I knew that would probably happen especially after trying to take the picture above. When I wanted that photo she hid her hands saying they were old. I told her they were beautiful and asked if she would put them back on the mug. It took her a minute and a second request, but she accepted to have her hands photographed. While talking about the red umbrella adventure, I assured her that it would be fun and fine. We went to a mill near water. As I gave her the new umbrella she quickly noticed that it almost matched her top. I had noticed that too. We took a variety of photos some together and some of her from the back while she faced the mill. The ones that show more of us I will not post on here because of her request. Though she did say I could post the hands, shadow, and reflection photos. Shortly after our mini photo shoot we put the umbrellas away and drove to the grocery store. After we got home she said she would be over later in the afternoon to look at them on the computer. And that she did come over. It was fun and I’m glad she was willing to accept.
Last week, I had a conversation about another friend of mine. I was talking about being able to receive what this friend desires to offer. It isn’t much and I don’t necessarily need it, but this friend wants to give what he can. I want to be willing to accept it. Talking about this reminded me of something I heard a speaker say at a conference once. She referred to it as “Host & Guest.” She talked about how we need to be able to take both positions, of host and guest. To not only host and give, but also be able to be the guest and receive. This speaker wasn’t talking only about big things like allowing people into your home, but even simple acts of sharing the smallest of items and interactions. When we are the guest and receive we allow other to be the host and give what they can. I think, when someone is able to give and watch someone else receive what they have to offer, it has an element of worth and dignity built into it. We all need that. For a variety of reasons we sometimes tend to have a hard time receiving and accepting what others have to offer. Maybe being the guest is humbling in a way, but when we do not take the positions of the guest we are not allowing others to be the host. It is and needs to be a flowing relationship of both host and guest from both sides. Some of us want to be the host all the time while others want to be the guest all the time. Either way, we need to be willing to be in the other position at times.
How about you? Are you more comfortable giving or receiving?
How can you be both the guest and the host this week?