Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the art of hospitality

Last weekend Jon and I were treated to dessert in the home of a couple from our church. Frank and Sue are simply gems and we had a lovely evening together. The view of downtown Seattle from their Alki condo was incredible, the strawberry shortcake was great, the coffee was perfect, and the conversation was lively... but my favorite part of the hospitality they offered us was the art on their walls. From the moment you step in the door, you are walking into their stories, richly and beautifully told by the works that hang in their home.

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Frank's brother married a Brazilian woman after the War. Three exquisite oil portraits in the entryway bear the faces of her maid and the so-called street girls who lived in her city.

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Sue cared for her ailing father for many years before he passed away. She kept a special account of funds earmarked for his medical needs. When he died, the account had just enough money left in it to purchase a large watercolor painting of the Washington coast. The small silhouette in the bottom left corner reminds Sue of her dad; he loved to walk the beach by himself.

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Above the fireplace is a collograph by Sandra Bowden. Words of scripture from 1 Corinthians 13 form the backdrop of the piece, which Frank and Sue purchased to mark their 60th wedding anniversary. 60th. Wedding. Anniversary.

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Sue tells me that the colorful abstract piece in the hallway reminds her of creation, with its bursts of green and blue. One of our mutual friends painted it, another man from our church now in his eighties. She agrees to let the church borrow it for our upcoming in-house art exhibit.

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Frank and Sue showed us that true hospitality is more than making a great dessert and good decaf: it is inviting others to share in your stories. If there is anything better than art to facilitate that sharing, I sure can't think of it.

[Side note: Jon has been serving on a committee at church with Sue and loves to tell the story of their first meeting. Each committee member was asked to give a brief testimony of their Christian life and Sue started by saying, "Well, I met Jesus in the 'thirties." No, not her thirties. THE 'thirties. Classic.]

3 comments:

Living Palm said...

Love everything about this post and am so grateful for people like Frank and Sue! Let's be them someday, OK?

Living Palm said...

just realized that comment might have sounded a little bit strange. what i meant it to say was "I hope that my husband and I can be like couples like Frank and Sue and I hope you and your husband can, too." :)

Haley Ballast said...

Ahahaha I knew exactly what you meant! And yes, let's do. :) Thanks Tamara, I'm glad you liked the post.