Be forewarned, this might be a bit of a ramble. My thoughts are disorganized and yet concrete. I know what I mean, what I feel, but can't seem to put it all in order. Several spiritual strings have ends that almost touch and connect in my mind, but I can't tell what goes with what.
I know that people do not understand (or is it comprehend?) the way my family lives. We love being together but we don't crave alone time. We speak openly with each other, argue, laugh, make inside jokes, confess sins... but we don't require those things to be done in the privacy of our immediate family.
Our house, especially in summer, is rarely filled with only Sharps. We have kids coming in and out, most of them staying multiple nights, even weeks, at a time. Our grocery budget is ridiculous.
When our beloved friend, Jevon, stayed with us for 6 weeks this summer, I had no less than 5 people comment that we must be looking forward to getting our house back to normal. They assumed it had been a hard adjustment and that we had somehow changed our lifestyle while he was here. And while to a small degree, that is true, (we ate out a lot more) our home life stayed basically the same. They had no way of knowing the heartbreak that we felt to have to say goodbye. We would have gladly let him stay as long as he wanted.
This week we have had... let me count... Abby, Kaylin, John, Frankie, and Steven... so, 5 kids staying with us off and on. We have had silly talks, deep introspection, and angsty conversations. Last night as I was sitting in bed reading, I ended up with 4 girls piled on my bed talking about what God is teaching them. That's pretty stinkin' awesome. There are limits though. My house is small so I draw the line at 8 extra. Twelve kids is too many for a house this size.
I don't know why Chris and I love it so much. I just know we do. When Chris walks in the kitchen and sees an extra kid, his face lights up. Right this minute, as I type this, Ty and John are laid out on the sofas talking to me. I love it.
I'm trying to figure out why we are the way we are. I didn't grow up this way. Chris didn't either. We learned hospitality and transparency from a family who invested in us. They invited us over, took us on vacation, put us to work and just lived before us. It was life changing.
So, after writing all this down, I think there are three strings here. One, hospitality. Two, we are the same whether we're around people or not. Three, absolute gratitude for the house God provided.
Hmmm... I still feel that I've not fully fleshed out what I feel. That may be because I have 6 kids who keep coming in and out, talking to me. I can't keep a train of thought.
But, the point is, if I invite you or your child to come stay with us, I mean it. We love company.