Friday, April 01, 2011

Love Me, Love My House

One night last week, we had a co-worker of Chris' over for dinner. We didn't have anything fancy (just taco salad) and the house wasn't picked up to perfection. At one time, that would have bugged me, but I've changed my thinking about hospitality a bit.

I don't think that hospitality is inviting people over for meals only when your house is perfect and you have a gourmet meal ready. I know that some of the most meaningful hospitality I've experienced is with friends who invited me (or us) over for a meal on the fly and just let us be a part of their lives. What I remember are the conversations and laughter that took place over lovingly prepared meals, and not if the house was perfectly clean. Are there times when it's fun to plan big dinners and do nice meals? Sure, but we can't just limit our hospitality to those times.

What is hospitality? Inviting friends and strangers to be in your life, sharing meals and a place to sleep. (That's my definition, mostly because I'm too tired to get my copy of The Hospitality Commands off the bookshelf.  Good book, though.) As I enter my mothering years, I realized I couldn't let the state of my house be an excuse to not inviting people over. Plus, why not let people see us as we really are--messy house and all.

I'm not advocating being lazy or letting your housekeeping skills slide. I am trying to get better about maintaining a neat house, but if I wait until it's perfect--let's face it--I'll never invite people over. And you know what? I'd rather invite someone over for a meal I was already planning to make, even if it's just brinner, because it's letting them get to know us for who we are.

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