We have all been new, lost and exhausted. The kids are hungry, your spouse is crabby, and you are wondering why you were excited about moving again. Enter an old colleague from another post or a new colleague who has volunteered to sponsor you. They give you a tour, they brief your spouse on what the office is REALLY like, and they take you to eat at a local place. Suddenly, you remember that this part of the move will pass. The military taught me everything I know about hospitality.
When I married my husband, he was home for 4 days and then deployed for three weeks. I had quit my job in DC, moved across the country and now my husband was deployed. Super. The other wives in the unit reached out to me, told me where to shop, explained the clinic and invited me places. A couple of these ladies are dear friends to this day. Their actions taught me to push out of my comfort zone and put myself in other’s shoes. When a woman gave birth, we all made different parts of the meal so she wouldn’t have to cook right away. The same went for funerals. When our husbands deployed, we accompanied each other to medical tests. If your basement flooded, one of these women would have a shop vac you could borrow. We came from different parts of the country, and the world, but we shared ideals and a commitment. That was enough.
I have witnessed the same hospitality in foreign spouses. At an Oktobefest at Fort Bragg, the German spouses decorated, prepared home cooked food and organized games for the children. There was even a German Oompa band. The commander’s wife had only been in the US for 3 weeks. She planned this party at the same time that she was packing her household! Now that’ s impressive. The British are also well known for their hospitality. At Fort Benning, the British liaison and his wife hosted a garden party for the Queen’s birthday. It rained that day and they hosted the tea in the tiny front room of their quarters. The company was was so warm; no one dwelled on the cramped quarters.
The Bible reminds us that we “should not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” The grace of others has encouraged me to extend myself. It has become a way of being. Just last year, my husband had Thai clients visit. He had to leave on a business trip, so I took over the guests. I learned so much about their culture and their country. It was truly a joy. I would not be the hostess I am today, if other military members had not shown me the way. Thank you.