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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hospitality (02/07/05)

TITLE: A Tale of Two Smittys
By Lynda Lee Schab
02/12/05


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June Smith stood back and admired her work with a critical eye. Actually, she didn't do much of the work herself. She had Maria to do it for her. And June had to admit, Maria had done an excellent job. Vacuum lines were evident; footprints were strictly forbidden. The crystal sparkled, the appetizers looked delicious, and the wine was chilling. No dust bunnies under the table. Candles glowed where she instructed. June leaned forward and looked down onto the nearest end table. She breathed a sigh of satisfaction as her reflection stared back at her, relieved to add "furniture polished to perfection" to her list.

There was no doubt about it: by her own standard, June was the hostess with the mostest. She had the biggest house, the nicest things to go in it, a maid to clean and even a personal chef to prepare the party food. Her husband made the most money of any of their friends. In fact, June also had the most friends. Thirty of her closest ones would be at the party that evening. Everything had to look perfect - she had many guests to impress.

Since everything was ready, June wasn't even annoyed that her first guest arrived ten minutes early. What did irritate her was that they had brought their five-year-old son.

"Sorry, our babysitter canceled at the last minute. We hope you don't mind."

"Oh," June stammered. "Not at all." Her smile was forced as the five year old shoved his way in and started running in circles over her carpet lines and planted his fingers all over her shiny furniture! What would people think!

By the end of the evening, June was a frazzled mess. She had been so busy following the boy around and stressing about what he was doing to her beautiful home, that she couldn't even recall which of her friends had been there. Her guests had all gone home early and now June sat on her couch and cried. What would her friends think of her now?

**

A few houses down, Emily Smith was getting ready for her own guests to arrive. She put the vacuum away and ran a finger along the ledge. She looked at the trace of gray residue it picked up. She shrugged. Not too bad. No one would notice a little dust anyway. They would just be thankful they had somewhere to stay. When her pastor had called and asked if she could take in the Wilson family of seven - a husband, wife and their five children - because their home had burned to the ground, Emily instantly agreed. Her heart went out to this family for everything they had lost. She would welcome them in with open arms.

Emily looked around her own home and felt a burst of praise rising up. She had so much to be thankful for. And now she had the opportunity to share what she had with the Wilson's, who desperately needed it.

The doorbell rang and Emily embraced each member of the family, starting with the children. As the kids ran off to play, trampling her newly vacuumed carpet and fingerprinting her furniture, Emily didn't give it another thought. She turned her attention to the worn-out, devastated mom and dad who had just experienced the greatest trauma they probably would in their lifetime.

The Wilson family stayed with Emily for two weeks. When they were gone, Emily looked around her home and thanked God that He was willing to use it to bless a family in need. But although the house was used, it was the woman inside that He used the most. After all, anyone can own a house, but it takes someone special to make that house a home. In time, the Wilson's would probably forget what the house looked like but they would never forget the heart of the woman inside.

**

So which Smitty was really the hostess with the mostest?

And which one closest resembles me?


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Member Comments
Member Date
Suzanne R02/18/05
I love the challenge at the end ... just in case the reader thought s/he could pretend not to be challenged, there it was saying, 'Stop ... examine yourself ... act on it'. Your article was well written and the descriptions were great. I could picture each woman's house including the vacuum cleaner lines in the first home and the residue of dust in the second home. I was challenged through your writing, but not about being perfectionistic with housekeeping (because I'm definitely not). Generally about having the right heart and attitude to guests ws the challenge to me. I don't care about the mess, but sometimes resent the time required ... it depends on the guest. But like the first Smith, how much do I miss out on by being stressed about it all...... A timely reminder (have a house guest staying later this week). Had best go and clean up and plan the food but with a good attitude! Thanks for the challenge.
Debbie OConnor02/23/05
Beautiful, Lynda. I love this entry. Honestly, I don't think you needed the questions at the end, the story communicated the point clearly. But they didn't hurt anything either. Powerful stuff. You are awesome!
Beth Muehlhausen06/22/05
Like Mary and Martha...this story captures the choices and priorities we face. I probably fall somewhere in between these two much of the time. But what is the real goal in being a "hostess"??? I'm thinking about it.