For years, having company over to our house was very difficult for our oldest. Social anxiety made welcoming new folks very, very challenging. Once, after days of preparation, he greeted our college friend, Anne, and her family with a big ole’ smile, our visual timer in hand, and this welcome: “Hi. It’s nice to meet you. This is my visual timer. It’s set for 10 minutes. When the time is up, it will be time for you to leave.” Without missing a beat, Anne smiled and said, “Well, let’s make the most of the time we have!” They stayed over two hours, and we all enjoyed it.
More recently, Bobby invited a colleague over for supper. He was visiting from India, and Bobby felt like we needed to host him. I agreed, although with great trepidation. Our oldest had come such a long, long way, but still, I was hesitant. The day of the dinner went well until Eli the dog ran away, the baby decided to be nap-free, and I somehow ended up jumping in the shower when Bobby and his colleague were just miles from our house. When they arrived, I greeted them with wet hair and wine. Our son walked in the kitchen. Bobby introduced them, and our son said, “Namaste.” I glanced at Bobby, both of us wide-eyed and smiling, and when our guest bowed slightly and replied “Namaste,” our boy said, “How are you?” in Hindi. With tears in his eyes, our guest said, “How do you know my native language?” Our son said, “I figured that since you were so far from home, you might enjoy being greeted in your home language. I learned it on Google Translate and practiced this afternoon.”
The same boy who struggled to let anyone in to his world years ago made our guest feel more welcomed than anyone ever could. Bobby and I were so moved, so surprised, and so very, very proud. Our guest and our son became fast friends, with an evening full of question/answer exchanges about India. It was a magical evening, all because of our boy.
Later that night, Bobby and I reminisced on our evening. We talked about our son’s challenges, but also his gifts. We decided that God had shown us a beautiful glimmer of who He’s created our son to be. Quirky? Sometimes. Big-hearted? Yes. Hospitable and THOUGHTFUL? Yes!! That night, our prayer was that we could all be a little bit more like him.