Friday, September 28, 2012

The Royal Treatment

The other day my wife, Linda, and I had the distinct pleasure of attending a tea hosted by former royal butler David Woodfine at O’More College of Design here in downtown Franklin, Tennessee. Besides preparing the scones from scratch, topped with real whipped cream, Woodfine regaled the group gathered on the lawn of the 19th century mansion that houses the design school’s headquarters with several engaging stories.

Woodfine laced his stories with wit and wisdom gleaned from more than five decades of service to such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and numerous other royal personages. But of all the pithy quips and quotes he shared, the most compelling to me was his comment that “southern hospitality is second to none.” That is some compliment coming from one of the premier practitioners of hospitality.

As a born and bred southerner, I can attest that we are generally an hospitable lot. Even as my wife and I were in the process of relocating to this area, we were welcomed by our landlords to stay with them for the long weekend until our apartment was ready for occupancy and allowed to use their truck for the week until we got a car of our own, which was a big blessing to us. And such graciousness is not altogether uncommon here.

But the truth of the matter is that Scripture admonishes believers in particular to practice hospitality with one another. Whether we invite others to share a meal with us in our homes or out at a restaurant, or even to fellowship without food, we are urged to “roll out the red carpet” and give each other the royal treatment, for we are noble in our own right. If one with such stature as Jesus Christ came to serve us, surely we can serve one another.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Psychology of Place

Writer Russell Banks observed about the psychology of place: “All travel writing that’s of lasting interest—writing that is written by writers as travelers, not travelers as writers—is really written to make a point about home…which leads one to conclude that the best travel writers are people who are at bottom unsure of the nature and limits of home and their relation to it. They move out of the that…they can look back and see what’s true there.”

As reflective sojourners, my wife and I are still in the process of looking back and seeing “what’s true there” after selling our house last year and redefining what home means for us in this new phase of our lives. And we both agree that while there are facets of home ownership that we miss, we are convinced that we made the right move and are very much enjoying the fruits of it.

What enriches our experience exponentially is the realization that we are walking out the will of God for our lives, of which we are continually reminded in ways both big and small. For example, upon relocating here to Franklin, we landed the first place we looked at living, we leased the first car we test drove, and Linda got the first job she inquired about, all within about a month of moving to unknown territory during a poor economy.