All Christians are called to hospitality–we never know when we’re entertaining angels right? My husband and I also really enjoy having dinner guests and houseguests, most of the time, assuming we’re not in pre- or post-baby survival mode.
But I’ve been startled a few times at how my patience and generosity begin to run very, very thin when guests stay for more than a couple of nights. Even the dearest friends. I start measuring what I’m giving; I start resenting the extra cleaning and cooking; I lose interest in thinking of good conversation topics, even though there is always so much heart-to-heart catching up that could be done.
We have an expression in the South, which is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “Houseguests–like fish–begin to smell after three days.” [And often added in at the end “and need to be pitched out.”] This one’s best quoted in a thick southern accent. And the South is known for hospitality!
But the reality is some houseguests ask to stay longer and need to stay longer than 2 nights/3 days, and I would like to find ways to pace myself so that I can be patient and generous to the end.
The openness toward guests in Italian, Latin American, Filipino, and other cultures is really appealing–they expect to have people in and out often, and everyone’s more relaxed about it. Guests don’t get pitched out like rotten fish, but somehow the moms don’t become burned out and passive-aggressive after 3 days. (Maybe it’s because moms in some of those cultures typically have several household servants : )?)
Seriously though, any tricks?