“Is it a sin to hide from incredibly boring people?” I mumbled, walking back to the house. Mrs. Smith (not her real name) had gotten into her car and driven away. A few minutes earlier, she saw me working in the yard and stopped to chat. If I had seen her coming, I would have hidden; you know, run for the backyard, duck behind the roses, or go inside the house. But, alas, I was trapped. The conversation began, or should I say the monologue.
As usual, Mrs. Smith droned on endlessly while I tried to sandwich in a response. It was futile. I opened my mouth to speak, but she cut in leaving me mute. Her non-stop talking annoyed me. After all, I had some interesting thoughts to share (at least I thought they were interesting). Finally, much to my relief, she left.
Mrs. Smith died last week she had a stroke. The news of her death same as quite a shock to everyone. She had not been sick, and she was only 62 years old. My first thought after hearing of her death was of our last visit in my front yard. I was suddenly convicted of my sin. My sin wasn’t in trying to avoid a boring person my sin was my baditude (bad attitude).
I was impatient. I wanted to talk (Okay, I’m also known for non-stop talking. Maybe people hide from me too.) Now I think what I Corinthians 13:4 said: “Love is patient,” and I Thessalonians 5:14, “. . . be patient with everyone.”
I was not hospitable. I did not receive her readily. I did not give her a cordial reception. Oh, I played the part. I smiled and acted interested I was a fake. I Peter 4:9 said to offer hospitality one to another without grumbling inwardly, I grumbled.
Had I shown gracious hospitality, I might have learned she had wounds and hurts like everyone else. I could have prayed with her. I might have learned more about gardening; she was a master gardener. I might have learned to tolerate incessant talking. Until now, I didn’t realize what an honor it is to have someone go out of their way to pay a visit. Imagine I was irritated for being honored! Now, when someone stops to pay a social call, I don’t hide. I enjoy the moment.
Yes, I know there are other incredibly boring people out there (maybe I’m one of them), but now I’m not so quick to escape when I see them coming. Practicing patience and unexpected hospitality is something I’m taking to a deeper level. Thank you, Mrs. Smith.