I’m still in Guatemala, and if I had to use one word to describe my time here, I would use this word: hospitality.
Honestly, this is a huge value of mine. I grew up in a family who offered meals and beds to anyone who needed them, anytime, no questions asked, and I’ve always had a strong desire do the same. Darrell and I talk about this often, about how one of the things we most want in life is a space that would afford us the ability to open our doors to friends and strangers for meals or a place to sleep.
We have weekly conversations about what exactly we could do to make people feel loved and cared for in our home, and dream about a space where people could feel comfortable and safe.
But despite the fact this is a huge value of ours, I have to say, these people blow me out of the water.
I’ve never seen anything like it.
Several families took chickens from their yard and used them to cook meals so fancy they are only served once a year at weddings and festivals. One family even offered to give us a chicken to take home with us (I was so disappointed we had to decline, darn customs).
They invited us into their less-than-perfect (but oh-so-beautiful) homes, urging us to take a seat and make ourselves comfortable.
Their laundry was swaying in the wind, and wasn’t perfectly folded and put away in drawers, but they invited us anyway.
While we were there, they unabashedly breast-fed their children.
They shared openly about their struggles and needs, and invited us to share openly with them (“How have you been married for a year and a half but haven’t had children?”). I loved the transparency they practiced, with us, and in their community.
I think the part that was most shocking to me is that they weren’t waiting until they had “enough” to share.
They were just sharing. They weren’t waiting for a home or a space that was conducive to inviting guests. They weren’t waiting for the perfect guest room, or a beautiful L-shaped couch, or a cupboard overflowing with food in order to invite people over for dinner. They had very little to give, but they gave everything. And that made what they gave seem like so much. I have so much to learn from them.
I want to learn to give like they give, without waiting until I have enough. Because I am already enough. I already have enough. I don’t have to wait any longer.
Being generous is simply about opening the door to what I already have.
I’ve been thinking about it all day, about what stops me from being generous with what I already have, and I think it’s pride. I’m afraid to invite people over to my house and into my life because I’m scared of what they’ll think of me. I’m afraid they’ll wish what I had is nicer. I’m afraid they’ll wish I was more mature, less selfish, less broken. I’m afraid they’ll reject me and go away.
The people of Guatemala have reminded me: I am enough. I have enough.
I am ready to start sharing what I have, right away.
The families who have invited me into their homes over the past few days are proud in a different way than I am proud. They’re a good kind of proud, the kind of proud that leans on their identity in Christ, rather than what they look like, or what their house looks like, or if the couch in their living room is from IKEA or Goodwill or Crate & Barrell.
They are proud because they are children of God, reflecting and radiating His beauty as they learn to become more like Him.
Their pride shows in the way they smile. It shows in the way they swing their doors wide open. Not in the value of their furniture, or the quality of their food, or the luxury of their linens.
They are enough. They have enough.
So am I. So do I.
If you have the means to sponsor a child in this community, I would challenge you to take advantage of the opportunity to work with a great organization inspiring lifelong change with the people of Guatemala. See more about child sponsorship and Food for the Hungry by clicking here.
All photos taken by Jessica Taylor.