Sad to say and a little hard to admit, but I used to dread hosting people in our home.
Michael was the one with the “hospitality gift,” and though I liked the idea of it, opening our house usually filled me with such anxiety and fear of judgment that I found the only way was to power through, to try and perform my best.
So I’d clean. Flower arrange. Tame piles. Try to remember to throw on a stripe of lipgloss before the door knock. But like every other human, around here we live real life — and so all the ways I fell short caused me to feel frustrated and disappointed, sure people were picking apart our imperfect as we sat around chatting.
I might try to beat them to the punch, point out the lack of baseboards before they noticed or make a self-effacing comment about the mounds of kid stuff.
I simply could not make my home look like my mind’s vision, and it made me feel disappointed and tired. Then I felt shallow for caring too much.
This last weekend, we had an old and dear friend and his beautiful daughter stay with us for several nights. And I was reminded again how much I now enjoy making up that bed in the basement, reconnecting when the sun’s gone down and sharing conversation over breakfast biscuits. How much I’ve grown to delight in a house where people are welcome, and we share what we have.
I realize how much this has changed because of the years of inviting people in when it was difficult, gradually releasing the need to manage and control it all (even forcing myself to be spontaneous) — loosing the grip.
I also see how much it’s changed because of YOU.
Blogging has surprised me in hundreds of ways, and one of them is that I’ve felt over these two and a half years that I could make this place a home, and you might want to draw near and stay a while. I’ve learned that this is a place where I can safely be my quirky, deep, goofy, questioning self. Where I can make mistakes and live beauty in the midst of the mess. Be in a state of becoming, and you can too.
Besides, if I waited for perfect words, I’d never write. If I waited for a perfect home, I’d never extend the welcome.
I want you to know that when I’m away for several days because of full life, I miss you, and I want you to come over. So I open the doors and let you know I’m here, and there’s a pot of soup on. It might be filled with leftovers, but it’s what we’ve got, and you’re welcome.
And when I despair over our imperfect home and my imperfect writing offerings, I try to remember that imperfect is common ground. That lovely, messy and true community is made in throwing open the door as-is, showing up as we are and inviting others to the same.