During past seasons when our family has done a lot of traveling in the U.S., we often have stayed in the budget motel chain, Motel 6. With rooms starting at $39.99 and 1,100 hotels that dot the U.S. map, you can almost always find an affordable room to stay for the night.
You also know what you can expect. The rooms are generally clean. The shower pressure is just enough to wash your body but not enough to invigorate the senses. The rooms, the lobby, the whole place is very utilitarian and simple. But at 60 bucks or so I’m not complaining. You stay at a Motel 6 because you can rest your weary traveler’s body for the night and because it’s cheap.
Contrast the Motel 6 experience with where my wife and I stayed this past weekend for a get-away. The Hotel Tugu Malang is a wonderful, soulful hotel which overlooks a giant lotus pond and monument that commemorates Indonesian’s struggle for independence and rests in an old Dutch, tree-shaded part of town. The hotel was built by art lovers and there are vast caverns of art and antiques to explore throughout the property. The lobby has plenty of places to sit comfortably and read, accompanied by the sounds of a gentle fountain. Gardens galore. An upstairs tea room offers free Indonesian refreshments every afternoon and you can sip your tea while overlooking the lotus pond from the veranda. The rooms are cute and quaint, accented with teak wood, and the decorators very much paid attention to detail. The staff wears traditional Indonesian batik clothing. The hotel is connected to a delicious Italian restaurant and to get there you can stroll through a long “tunnel of love” which is draped with colorful tapestries.
After 24 hours at the Hotel Tugu Malang our spirits and bodies were refreshed for another season. Usually after a night at the Motel 6, and a strong cup of coffee, we are ready to hit the road again.
While we were at the Tugu, and I was enjoying some soul reflecting time, I looked around the lush gardens and comfortable lobbies and thought how much my inner life does not reflect the spaciousness of this place but more the utilitarian-ness of a Motel 6. Instead of gazing at beauty, like which can be found so richly in my Savior’s eyes, I opt for a quick quiet time out of the door and on to my day.
My soul feels most of the time as spacious as a Motel 6 lobby. I want it to more resemble the gentle gardens of the Hotel Tugu lobby, vibrant yet restful, but to get there I have to down shift my soul. Usually my to-do list sets the pace for my day and I don’t have time for silly things like nature walks. What about worship just for the sake of worship? A little poetry and not just e-mails all the time? What do I need to do to renovate my Motel 6 lobby soul into the spaciousness of the Tugu?
Which would you enjoy more, the Motel 6 or the Tugu? Me too.