I was paid a tremendous compliment this last weekend.
A dear, dear friend finds herself weary from work and at a crossroads in her life. And in that state, she deliberately took time away from her life, drove across a state and a half, and came to my home for rest.
One way top look at that is simple enough – Chris had a visitor this weekend. Whoop de freaking do!
But I see something else entirely. For one thing, when Rebekah and I first moved here, we were both told that the house was specifically given to us that we might share it with others as a refuge of sorts, and over the years these walls have seen many of friends come and stay for short stays or long. It truly has been a place for many folks to unwind or find their feet or just get away. But for the most part, that effect has been more accidental than not. As if it turned out to be a place of rest when all anybody expected was a simply a place to crash. Like expecting a cave and finding instead a warm bed.
But I feel like this weekend was something of a different kind – I don't want to read too much into her intentions, but how it felt to me was that this friend sought out this home. She had no need to go anyplace in particular, but at significant inconvenience to herself, she came here. For me – what a gigantic blessing! What a gesture of confidence and trust! Heck, I don't if she got much out of the weekend or not, but I was soaring.
There are scads of ancient traditions that place tremendous importance on the sacred relationship between a host and his guest. There are elements of sanctuary and protection and a host is obligated to treat his guest almost as if he or she were family. Something about this weekend gave me a momentary glimpse into what that’s all about, and a glimpse in Imladris...Lord, this house is, and remains, truly yours.