Thursday, March 21, 2019

Lenten Book Club 2019 Week 3 - Hospitality, community and whether or not the Internet is our friend...

Happy second week of Lent, everybody, and welcome back to this year's installment of the Lenten Book Club! This year we are reading The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart, and I hope you're enjoying the book as much as I am. :-)

Our 3 chapters this week focused on:

  1. Hospitality
  2. The importance of Community
  3. Internet - friend or foe?

I mentioned last week that a few of the chapters we're covering this week would be tougher ones for introverts to tackle. ;-) And it's true, right? Reaching out to people, TALKING to them, making conversation and invitations, is difficult when you are a bit socially awkward, as introverts are prone to be. But it's to our benefit, as well as the person we're reaching out to, for us to challenge ourselves in this way and go outside of our comfort zone.

I love how Haley mentions that we should not stress about having our house be perfectly clean before we'll have anybody over to share a meal or fellowship. I try very hard to follow this advice, because I longed for this approach so much when I was growing up. I completely understand the insecurity about the state of one's home prior to visitors, I truly do! But we miss out on so much enjoyable time with our family and friends if we let this hold us back. Have your friends over for tea, even if there are toys on the floor and the bathroom hasn't been cleaned!

Obviously, this ties right in to how much we need community around us, even if we are introverts. Haley makes an excellent point about how people don't sit out on their porches as much anymore, and it's funny because we DO do this, and it's for the exact reason she mentions - we do not have central air conditioning! Living where we do in WNY, we literally do not see our neighbors from after Halloween until May. And our neighbors are very nice! When Anne started going outside to play with their dog I fretted about her bothering them and then me having to go out there to make small talk. But you know what? It's great. We've had great conversations about Catholic high schools in the area and other neighborhood news. Last year, while we were out there talking, a woman and her grandson came walking along with him in his stroller, and he requested a stop to also pet the dog. She lives a few blocks over, and we had a *wonderful* conversation with her. She cared for her grandson quite a bit, and it was obvious that she was extremely happy to have found a bit of adult conversation and entertainment for both of them out in the fresh air. The kids were taking turns throwing the ball for the dog to fetch as I reflected on what a lovely and unexpected interlude this had been. This summer, I am resolving that we will continue to be more neighborly.

The Internet chapter was pretty much exactly as I expected, and it's information that I definitely needed to hear. Online community can be a beautiful thing, especially for people who are more housebound based on their state of life or physical needs. And it can be a beautiful source of friendship and fellowship for all of us. But it doesn't take the place of communicating with people who are right in front of you. We shouldn't become so absorbed into our screens that we neglect actual conversation and experiences in real time.

I got a lot out of these chapters. Next week, we're somehow already wrapping up our Lenten Book Club and discussing the final 3 chapters! Looks like we'll be addressing intimacy, living out the Gospel in our world, and choosing hope. I'll see you then, but in the meantime, leave your thoughts in the comments!


  1. These chapters were so good even if the information is hard to replicate. I struggle b/c I want to be welcoming but my husband has trust issues. He's convinced if we open our home to a small group from our parish they will come back and rob us at another time...*eyeroll*...

    We live in the downtownish area of our city but it's weird about half the houses on our block are probably empty. A few of them are for sale. Others college kids live in. So we rarely ever see people. I also can't figure people out here. I can't decide if the people are just strange, noncommital, or what.

    Everyone I meet and try to invite to things are like "oh idk if i can commit to that yet...[said event will be less than a week away]....the other struggle is I work until 5pm everyday with traffic it's after 5:30pm by the time I get home and all the evening activities are 6:30pm it's not really enough time to eat dinner so I either go to things hungry or am late to everything. I know these are all excuses but man sometimes it is just hard with everyones schedules to make things work.

    We actually talked to the social media factor in my bible study a few weeks ago. People are getting just enough of the social endorphins from reading social media and texting with people that they feel they don't need to meet people and leave the house. It's kind of sad. I do love being able to do bookclubs on your blog and in facebook groups and chatting with people but I still often go stir crazy and crave physical connection as well (yes even as an introvert lol)

    1. Beth Anne, you sound like a social introvert, just like me! :-0 Yes I know, all of this is easier said than done, I totally get it. I really want to get back into going to my Dominican Third Order chapter meetings, but they have meetings on Sunday mornings, and it just feels impossible with our commitments at our own parish and with some much of our other weekend time being consumed by activities (both the kids and my dance stuff). I guess if we keep working on it, something will work out!

    2. Yeah basically....I am not a homebody at all...I get stir crazy staying at home too long haha I think it's so hard to find the right group that can work with everyone in the houses schedules sometimes. I'm glad I was able to find a weeknight bible study to join it's been really fruitful for me this year :)


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