In the Book of Genesis, Chapter 18, Abraham and Sarah play host to a trio of visitors who come walking across the desert towards their tent. Hospitality is offered in the baking of bread and the sharing of a meal. In exchange for that hospitality and generosity, Abraham and Sarah receive some amazing news, the upcoming birth of their son Isaac. Our staff spent a couple of minutes at the beginning of this week exploring this scripture as we prepared to share hospitality to a group that is outside of our normal summer weekly routine.
This week at Pilgrim Center we are hosting a week of family camp for a group of about 40 individuals who have been coming to Pilgrim Center for the last couple of years. In some ways we find this to be challenging because this group does not follow our normal summer routine. We provide some programming for them, but our counselors are not in their normal role of sleeping in cabin with the campers or eating with them in the dining hall, some of the day contains scheduled programming, but there is a lot more unstructured time than we are accustomed to. Despite these differences, we are called to provide them with hospitality in the best way we are able. In the same way that Abraham and Sarah were called to alter their plans and provide some unexpected hospitality, this crew inevitably has some requests for us that we don’t always anticipate ahead of time.
Equally surprising to these requests, are some of the gifts we receive that are unexpected. These gifts might not have any monetary value, but they are valued none-the-less. One that really stands out for me is the presence of young children in our dining hall. This is not something we have here at Pilgrim on a regular basis. During meal times we are able to experience the presence of these kids, there is nothing comparable to the uncontrolled laughter of a two year old. And yes, at times the day proves to be too tiring and a few tears of exhaustion are also shed. For myself personally, both the laughter and the tears serve as a reminder of the value of spontaneity in life. These young children don’t hold back, if there is something to laugh at, they laugh, and if life calls for crying, they cry. Too often in life I fear that we hold back our emotions in fear of what others might think at the cost of not experiencing life at its fullest. I believe we can learn something from these children and live life a little richer. If life is calling you to laugh, then laugh and if tears are appropriate I always carry a handkerchief in my back pocket.