The Family Business


I was born into a family of medical professionals. My grandmother was a nurse at the same time that women were being given the right to vote. My mother is a nurse. My father was a microbiologist in the hospital lab. My aunts and even my uncle all carried the Florence Nightingale gene. Family dinners often included a large pot of Chicken Gumbo and stories of severed limbs and infectious diseases.

I loved looking at my dad’s discarded slides through my microscope when I was young, but that is pretty much where my interest in the family profession ended. I believe the healing gene is recessive. Early in my college career, I took a Meyers-Briggs personality test and the resulting printout confirmed my hypotheses with this statement “Don’t go into a caring profession.”  I have had to remind my children of this when they have had broken bones or have an illness that lasts longer than 24 hours. Most of our “sick” days have involved hot chocolate and time on the slopes, instead of soup and time on the couch. It is with this background, that I found my mind wandering when Pastor Mike suggested in a sermon this week that we should make our homes “mini-hospitals” or places of healing for those who may come through our doors.

So how does a person who is “not the caring type” make her home a hospital? In my case, I do what comes more naturally, grab a couple of letters on Microsoft Word and simply make it hospitable. Fortunately, I had already given this some thought in a previous blog where I wrote, The word hospital comes for the Latin word hospus meaning stranger or foreigner. Other similar words are hospitality, hotel, hostel, and hospice. In Medieval times, a hospital was the work of the church to provide a place of shelter for the visitor, the stranger and the infirm. So, two out of three I can handle. I can provide shelter for the visitor and the stranger (the infirm are always welcome too, but my medicine chest consists of Tums and bandaides).

As a matter of fact, this present generation has pretty much found themselves in the “hospitality business.” In the same way my family of origin discussed bodily fluids over a cup of coffee, we discuss tips and out-of-town guests.  So Pastor Mike, what I have been able to do is make my home a “hostel.” And it helps that whenever the pool cover is off, it smells like a Motel 6. I feel very blessed to have a few too many beds, a lot of towels and occasionally an extra toothbrush lying around (I will work on that). I love it when people come to stay. Perhaps, it was telling that growing up, one of my favorite movies was “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness.” Zac said it best when he recently told me that when he started his job at The Inn at Solitude his boss told him. “All you have to do is “be nice” it really isn’t that hard.”  So for the “poor wayfaring man of grief” or the teenager who needs a place to crash or for family passing through-I avoided the “caring” professions, but I will leave the light on and I promise to “be nice.”


(The Inn at Solitude and Rendevous Lodge-where Zac and Trevor practice being hospitable–for a price 😉

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5 Responses to The Family Business

  1. Cathy G. says:

    And you are one of the most hospitable people I know! You always include everyone and can stretch a meal to feed as many as you need! You are generous with everything! Love you!

  2. Ruthanne says:

    You are one of the most hospitable people I know! Thank you for sharing your life with all of us!

  3. Cheryl says:

    Clearly, neither you nor I followed in the family business (good thing Romney carried on the tradition). But I’m so glad you choose to be hospitable. Looking at the pictures of your house and cabin make me want to rush up and visit.

    However, after seeing all the beautiful pictures you put on your blog and the pictures you manage to find (i.e., those great nursing shots), I think you should give up the hospitality industry and take on the photography industry. You’ve become so good at it!

  4. jessica says:

    I want to come home!!! I want some soup, siblings, a swim and to hang out with my mom. But since that isn’t possible at the moment, I really appreciate your pretty pictures, beautiful thoughts, and chat on facebook this morning. You are more of a nurse than you know, thanks to you, I am feeling much better today. Love you!

  5. sullivanh says:

    I really like the idea of making the home a hospital. I think of the way I was treated during my stay at the University with Claire and Lily and want to have some of that same spirit in my house.

    I agree that the Down house is one of the most hospitable places around. I notice how many people come and go around there and know they always feel welcome. I have thought several times since my friend left to find a home away from home how thankful I am that I always have a place to go where I would be safe and cared for.

    Love you.

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