Through the Mail Slot
THREE YEARS AGO a young neighbor with special needs and disadvantages insinuated herself into my life. At my front door looking for daily attention, she would flip open the mail slot, align her eyes with the narrow slit, and scope out my living area. Harboring wild-eyed fear of my cat, she stayed outside, sometimes silent, sometimes stammering.
And there she was, [one Sunday] afternoon, a pair of brown eyes spying on my guests as they ate cheese and crackers. Half an hour later, craning her neck, she watched me, sitting at the end of the dining table directing the flow of bowls and platters. Back in the living room eating pie, we all were aware of the metallic click as she’d run off, distracted, before returning to her eagle-eye perch.
I knew I was not powerless in the situation. I could have latched the screen door. Or asked her mother to call her home. But with a brief apology and explanation to my guests, I followed my heart: Let her stay. She’s unaccustomed to place settings and sitting in place. Let her see this ordered gathering. Let her observe how I host a meal.
Three years older now, she walks around the cat in the living room. She grates cabbage for slaw and fills the pepper grinder in the kitchen. She sets the table when I’m expecting company. “Knife on the right.” She looks puzzled. “You write with your right,” I whisper.
God, give me a vision for passing along to a younger generation what I’ve observed in and absorbed from older mentors.
– Evelyn Bence
Room at My Table
From pages 46-47 of Room at My Table: Preparing Heart and Home for Christian Hospitality by Evelyn Bence. Copyright © 2014 by Evelyn Bence. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
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All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
Matthew 23:12, NRSV
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This week we remember: Rosa Parks (October 31).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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