This morning’s rain descended without warning, slipping in under our radar and through the back door. Yet, my unexpected guest was most welcomed; in spite of the early wake up call she left tapping against my window pane.
I was glad for a morning to be lazy, to have no where I needed to be. Tucked into my favorite chair with a fresh cup of coffee, I enjoyed that rare pleasure of hosting a beloved drop-in guest. But it made me wonder: Does anyone these days experience the joy of surprise visits from friends or family?
Here in Mesta Park, my only unexpected callers are the occasional Girl Scout with cookies and the more faithful Jehovah’s Witness who canvas our tree-lined neighborhood in hope of finding a few lost souls; both seem content to receive my meager crumbs of hospitality from the welcome mat that rests just beyond the front door.
I can’t recall when I last received a surprise visit from a good friend or family member. Even my four children don’t just drop in as the school of hard-knocks has taught them to call before they knock. Instead, they “let their fingers do the walking” with their cell phone compass in hand. “Where are you?”, they ask. And before I respond, I immediately think, “Where’s Waldo?” These days, Waldo’s often in Seminole visiting Daddy, or at the County Extension office playing plant detective or since June, practicing the art of spiritual direction wherever the Spirit leads me. In other words, I’ve taken my homebody-ness on the road for some good old-fashioned visits.
The heart of a visit is listening. And to listen well, I create space by temporarily putting my own life on the back burner. But no matter where I am physically, I strive to be at home in spirit by being true to who I am. I’m less of a front-door guest and more like those back-door guests that so often called upon my granny. These special people never put on airs but simply made themselves at home, often rolling up their sleeves to work along side their host to help with simple meal preparation or find their own source of refreshment.
This morning’s rain was a perfect example of a wonderful back door guest. As if my burden were her own, the rain settled in and deep watered every square inch of my gardens, leaving behind the fresh scent of heavenly rain water. Meanwhile, sitting in my comfy chair, I deep listened to the sounds of raindrops working. And just like the garden, my spirit was nourished, cleansed by the rain’s soothing sounds, a rhythm of soft humming piddles and pings.
My own grandmother really knew how to welcome a back door guest. No appointments were necessary; No knock was required. The guest just shouted out a greeting before letting themselves in. Granny always made everyone feel welcomed, as if they were her most important of priorities. And while there, they were. Whatever she had been doing — watching a little television or working a crossword puzzle–were simply put aside in favor of a nice cozy chat.
These memories of my granny stir up my own desire to become something like her. On some rainy day in the future. When all I want to do is stay home. And then I pray: Let the guests descend! Without advance warning. Even a few raindrops will do. As long as they remember to enter in through the back door like today’s unexpected guest.