Hypocrites, Hospitality, & Doing It Anyway

Over at Everyday Liturgy, my friend Thomas wrote an interesting blog post recently about being a hypocritical blogger. Like I said in my comment on that post, when my life is shined up against the words I write here at Texas Schmexas, I often feel like a hypocrite.

I write about community but often don’t feel like being in community, or working for community, or, heck, even being around people.

For example, a few weeks ago at a women’s reading group I attend, we were asked whether or not we thought we could live a cloistered life (i.e., like that of a monk or a nun). I raised my hand without hesitation, thinking about an idealized version of the cloister. I mean, I like the idea of a quiet, contemplative life in a sequestered place, all by my lonesome. Few choices in clothing, food, chores. Scheduled prayer times. Sleep.

In fact, I believe I said at the time, “My main annoyance about a cloistered life would be the other nuns!”

The leader of the group, my friend, turned to me and said, “But you blog about community!”

And–honest to goodness– I thought to myself, “GAH! But that doesn’t mean I actually like people…”

I suppose there’s a fine line between writing about your convictions and actually living out your convictions. Okay, so sometimes it’s not even a fine line. Sometimes it’s a huge, thick, bold, squiggly line separating my convictions from my actions.

I’m trying to be honest about this because, quite frankly, I’m afraid that sometimes I give off the impression that I think this whole community endeavor thing is something that is easy, that it comes naturally for me, that I like it. (Not that I haven’t been explicit at times about just how much hard work it is, but apparently that can get overshadowed by all the lovely things I say in praise of community.)

Okay, maybe I do like it, at least most of the time.

But honestly, it’s more fair to say that I think it’s worth it.

That I think it’s the way we were created to live, the way to be our best selves, to cultivate virtue and weed out selfishness. And, when I read the Bible, I’m pretty convinced that it’s the way to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our broken world.

Even if all we’re doing is dragging our neighbors’ trashcans back their driveway from the road, or getting on first-name terms with our bank tellers, or remembering to ask that woman at church how she’s doing, the one whose husband was recently diagnosed with Alzheimers.

Or opening your house for a potluck when it’s inconvenient, your floors are dirty, and you’re tired, cranky, and 8 months’ pregnant.

Which is where this post was headed all along…

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4 comments on “Hypocrites, Hospitality, & Doing It Anyway

  1. Elaine says:

    I can completely understand. God pushes us into community, like sharing our home, but sometimes I wish it was just us! For the two of us, a bowl of cereal is fine, and the other tv isn’t too loud, and people aren’t sharing my bathroom…. But when the need is there, you do what has to be done, even if you don’t feel like it 🙂

    • elizabeth says:

      I like that you shared this. It’s important to note that hospitality even to our own family can be difficult, too–extended, immediate, whatever. I’m about to make a whole lotta room in my little world, for example!

  2. stephen says:

    Yes, I remember this young girl I knew that for punishment she had to stay downstairs with the rest of the family because if she had to go to her room for punishment she’d enjoy it and simply sit there and read. 🙂

    I totally think that there is reward for the difficulty we find in life. If doing the right thing was always easy, everyone would be doing it. We are called to do some of the difficult things because we have something to learn.

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