My husband Howard passed away suddenly in August, leaving me with two college-aged kids and a huge void where a larger-than-life personality belonged. The funeral was Saturday and my support group is rallying around me, strong and vibrant. It’s God’s blessings that I have so many reaching out and helping me in tangible and intangible ways. I know others are not so fortunate.

We spent two decades together welcoming people into our different homes and into our lives. We lived out God’s command for creating community and pointing people to Jesus. And, I’m reaping that blessing now.

My sister and I were taking notes for thank you cards and on a page inside the tablet she found Howard’s handwriting. It was a simple but profound note:

Door Open

“Keep the Welcome Mat Out & Mouth Shut.”

Howard could make any short story long. It was his talent. He over talked and dominated conversations. At parties I’d have to give him “the signal.” Sometimes he’d catch it, and himself, and let someone else get a word in, but sometimes he wouldn’t. It was what made him the master of ceremonies at every pig pickin’, oyster bake, cocktail party, fundraiser, couples’ bunco, or any other event we hosted, even if we were simply having another couple over for dinner. He was the ultimate bon vivant.

Maybe he had trouble with the “mouth shut” part, but he never had trouble with leaving the “door open.” People were and are welcome in this home. Creating community and listening to others is a godly command.

Today, I have a desperately needed support network because of it.

Sidebar: the writer in me wants to change it to “Keep Out the Welcome Mat…” But, that would change the authenticity of his note and I’m not going to do that.