Are You Staying With Us?

BHH Family with Ed“You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.”  Those words from Glenn Frey, and “Hotel California,” were recalled by our close friend Ed Dunn as we were sitting in the Century City plaza sipping coffee and waiting on our kids while they were shopping during the New Year’s weekend.

Our family had the opportunity to experience a bucket list vacation a few weeks ago.  I’ve always wanted our three kids to experience the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game (as Nan and I had while living in Pasadena) and we were able to make that happen this year.

To me, the highlight of the trip was the opportunity to stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and to catch up with Ed, a friendship that goes back to our Pasadena college days.  After we checked in and got settled, Ed and I went down to the infamous Polo Lounge for a drink.  We were asked if we had a reservation and I replied, “No.”  That’s when we were first asked the question that would become familiar:  “Are you staying with us?”  I replied,”Yes, we are,” We were then directed to a great seat right next to the piano.

After we had a chance to catch up for a couple hours, we decided to find a place to share a couple cigars.  It was a little chilly outside, and when I asked if they could turn on the heat lamps, I was told they had another bar in the hotel with a cigar lounge right outside.  We made our way there and the server acted a little put out given the hour.  She said they were about to close, but then she asked, “Are you staying with us?”  It was like we were given mystical access to the entire complex because we were staying with them.  Her reluctance became “No problem, sir.”  We were directed to a fabulous patio with soft lounge chairs and coffee tables.  Our server brought us another drink, ashtray, matches, and a friendly “take your time, and enjoy.”

About forty-five minutes later, we headed in.  I had read about the infamous swimming pool and cabanas where Hollywood’s stars and moguls had been hanging out for poolyears.  I just had to see it.  But it was past 1:30 a.m.  I approached the gentleman at the desk and apologetically requested to see the pool.  “Pool hours have been closed for sometime, sir.”  Ruefully, I said, “I realize that, but I was wondering if we could just see it?”  Then came the magic question: “Are you staying with us?”  Once again, the initial reluctance became, “No problem, sir. Let me call someone and we can take you out there.”

A well-dressed man appeared and guided us past the high-end shops, adorned with pink-covered walls in the hotel, and outside to the gated pool.  After unlocking the gate, he said, “Take your time.”  Ed and I were mesmerized, recalling all of the world-renowned celebrities who had spent their time in the very spot we were standing.  It was quite an experience that created lasting memories.

“Are you staying with us?”  I learned to love those words and will never forget them.  Humanity has the opportunity to experience all the splendor of a relationship with God, or simply remain a spectator by not believing in the acceptance and inclusion already provided.  By “staying,” Ed and I (and by extension our family and son’s girlfriend) were able to truly experience the splendor of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Others, who weren’t staying, could enjoy the surroundings (our kids were able to spot Ozzie Osbourne and his wife Sharon exit the Polo Lounge after the ball dropped on New Year’s), but not truly experience what we experienced, simply by asking (and of course, staying).

220px-HotelcaliforniaThe difference between truly experiencing a life with God and simply being included without a clue has a lot to do with how we believe what we’ve been given, and our decision “to stay.”  Regardless of our response, we will be included (universally) in God’s love forever.  Putting a positive spin on Glen Frey’s lyrics, we truly can “check out anytime we like, but can never leave.”  God doesn’t force us to stay (personally), but always, politely, asks the question of each of us, “are you staying with us?”  The world we experience from that point has a lot to do with our response, just as it did that evening, for Ed and me.

So, what do you think?  Will you be staying with us?

~by Craig Kuhlman

8 comments so far

  1. ohiasia on

    I thought Don Henley sang Hotel California…

    • kuhlmancraig on

      You are correct. Don Henley did sing the song. Lyrics are attributed to Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and Don Felder.

      Notwithstanding the clarification, I hope you’ll still stay with us 🙂

      Best regards,
      Craig

      • ohiasia on

        I wouldn’t mind staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel, that’s for sure. As for philosophically, I’ll follow your blog and see how it goes. 🙂 I like your relaxed tone.

  2. Pat on

    Great point!!! Thanks

    • kuhlmancraig on

      You’re welcome. Thank you for your comment.

      Craig

  3. kuhlmancraig on

    Disclaimer for ALL! I have to admit I’m quite embarrassed for “liking” my own blog, and may be the only blogger who has done this. My intent was to click on pastorjohnston’s “like” to somehow thank him. Actually, pastorjohnston “Ted” is my instructor this semester at GCS (a very good one at that) and wanted to reach out to him.

    In that process I ended up liking my own blog…added to my distress I got a note from wordpress that stated…”You’re so vain, you probably think “Are you staying with us?” was about you (I actually bust out laughing when I read it).

    Although I taught myself how to use Office apps and can find my way around Word, Excel, PPT “fairly” easily, I don’t have a clue when it comes to google and WordPress apps.

    Sorry…although in reflecting I actually “do” like the message I felt God inspired me to write…I couldn’t come up with anyway (scrambling as I did) to delete my own “like.”

    Sorry, C.

  4. Leona Forste on

    Craig,
    This article you wrote of your friend Ed and the picture of Our loving relationship with our Father brought a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye to remember the day I read John 13 thru 17 and saw the intimate relationship that is pictured there with a God who was about to go to His death for me. Even though it happened before I was literally born, it was planned before we as humans had an earth to live upon. There will be a new home one day that we will be moving into even better than the Beverly Hills Hotel whose sign says “beautiful”. in your photo. The article may have sounded syrupy before I had gone through more than 30 years of legalistic views of God. I did ask to stay with Him, forever, and He said he has made us a new home. Thank you so much for sharing the story that like The Prodigal son, shows us what that relationship if, I ran home to Him and he didnt even charge me or accuse me, just ran to me and welcomed me home.
    Leona

  5. kuhlmancraig on

    Thanks for your comment Leona.

    Much appreciated,
    C


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