Loving Our Guests
Loving Our Guests

Loving Our Guests

~ An interview with Leanne Esch, Guest Host ~

Leanne Esch, Guest Host

Leanne, you are known on our staff as someone who excels in offering love to our guests and this is confirmed in many guest evaluations after their retreats.  What underlies this beautiful gift of yours?

Oh my goodness, wow! I don’t know if I can answer that…the verse that comes to mind is, ‘we love because Christ first loved us.’  I’ve received so much love in my life. I definitely think there is some sort of gift of hospitality where I enjoy serving others and it comes out of my heart naturally as a gift from God.  I’ve been the recipient of so much love from God. There is no other way I could love others – I don’t think we can give a lot of love if we haven’t been fortunate enough to receive it.

We love because He first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

I realize you’ve had a pretty easy life.

(Lots of laughter!) I’ve not had an easy life, but I have had a love-filled life. Another Scripture that helped during the times of pain was Psalm 16:7, “I turn my eyes constantly toward the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” So, if I have strength or love to give, it is out of the overflow of looking to the Lord for the love that I need.

Ripples in the pond

What is a favorite memory of a person or guest group at Dunrovin?

It was a group of old guys!!! So many were named “Bruce” that they told me to just guess at a name as “Bruce.” They were so sweet. One older man called out to me, “Hey you, are you going for a walk? Would you take some company?” My first inner response was I really wanted to be alone, but the second response was, “Of course, I don’t want to miss this opportunity to be with him.” I asked him some questions…I was preparing to give a message at my church. All we did was walk around the pond, but by the time we were back to the Center, he had given me a wonderful connection and content for my talk. I learned so much from him! It’s funny how our first responses are often resistant but when we look deeper, we realize what we might miss if we had said “no.”

So, you’re making choices to love, even though you are naturally gifted? “Yes, that’s true.”

Woman with arms stretched high

How do you fill your own love tank? What advice do you give others as they come to you for spiritual direction?

It starts with listening. Listening to my own needs and listening to God. For me personally, it is spending quiet time in prayer and making sure I get outside. Each of us is different in what we need so that we feel loved. We start by listening to how God made us.

When I notice that I’m irritable or depressed by the darkness in the world, it usually means I need to reconnect with God and with my own being. It is always good to get outside in nature because nature speaks to me about who God is. Spending time in the Psalms is always good, too.

Many of us struggle with moving the knowledge that God loves us from our mind to our heart. Plus, the world’s pain and confusion speak lies against the truth of God’s goodness. Can you speak into this?

Are you asking me to solve world peace? (Much laughter) Wow, that is a very hard question!

Receiving love is a very difficult thing. It’s rooted in depth of relationship, spending time in honest communication, both talking and listening, trying to slow down and listen, taking pauses, really ingesting the word of God. It actually seems like a lot of work to let ourselves be loved.

It’s a posture of receiving, which takes humility. We have to acknowledge that we have a need that we can’t fill on our own. We have to be willing to have an honest, vulnerable relationship with God. And we have to spend time. Yes, we have to spend time.

Any ways you can help us translate how to simply choose love more often for those around us? Give us three steps to raise the level of love in the world.

  • First, get to know yourself. Ask, “How has God uniquely made me to sow love in the world,” whether you are an accountant, social worker, teacher, parent – each of us has something unique to give. We flow and love best when we are doing what we were created to do.
  • Second, love yourself well. This is something I’ve had to work really hard on. Self-compassion can open up the ability to love others well.
  • Third, be present to the moment. There are opportunities all around us to shine God’s light and to be kind. It just takes noticing, getting outside of our own self or the complexities of the day or how we feel about whatever’s happening in this crazy world. Try to see, to SEE, people right in front of you. There is a lot of beauty that goes unnoticed.

“And laugh a lot! Laughing a lot is good!”

Leanne works as a Guest Host at Dunrovin, where her joyful spirit offers exceptional hospitality to guests of all ages and walks in life. Listen to her gentle, inspiring music album on Spotify or YouTube