How sweet is it to be rounding the corner of the seasons and welcoming in the warmth and loveliness of spring. Spring – full of possibility and opportunity but the cold not quite finished with us yet either – cardigan weather I call it. Warmer in the day but still chilly at night so if you go out doors you still need something warm on, like a soft stretchy cardigan that you can pull in close around you. Still cold enough too for an outdoor fire and I’m hoping to squeeze one or two more in before the cold is gone entirely. And the garden – it’s getting ready to shine. Warmer days warm the heart and because it’s the season of change and new growth I’ve an inkling to make room for something I’ve been holding back on for a while. I hold back not because it’s unpleasant or difficult but because I over complicate and over think and make it hard for myself. Ever do that?
So in the spirit of the season I’m saying yes and making room for more people around my table and at my kitchen bench and maybe sitting on my verandah with their feet up, I don’t mind. I’m making room because I know that opening my home involves opening my heart and although I struggle with that sometimes – it’s something I want to do more of.
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:8-9
See I have a tendency to shut the front door – literally – to close the world out and just do my own thing and that’s OK occasionally when it’s needed but – – – if I do it too much, I get insular and stuck in my ways, the house gets lonely and I do too.
Time to shake out the cobwebs.
I complicate things though – I always think everything needs to be all pristine and organised and dare I say it – perfect before I invite anyone in and if I don’t have time to do that then I tend not to bother. I’m blaming it on plain old pride and all the years of doing “events” – all the staging and arranging to make places and spaces welcoming and lovely – where everything is prepared and organised and tweaked down to the last detail and things run like clock work – I love to do an event but it’s hard work and it’s exhausting and it’s the exact opposite to what I want to be doing at home. So when I think visitors – I think “event” – and I immediately think – not prepared and not ready.
But then my house isn’t doing what it was made for.
My home’s purpose is not to impress, it’s purpose is to embrace.
My wee little house is no staged event and it doesn’t have to be. It’s where I lay my head and my heart and I wear pink slippers till lunch time somedays. I’ll always be making it look nice and work well if I can, I’ll always be making it warm and welcoming too because that’s what I love doing – but perfect – not even nearly.
So what if I invite you in anyway.
It feels like a risk, it takes trust – because we think our homes tell people about who we are and – – what if it says the wrong thing?
Yet true hospitality has nothing to do with perfect but everything to do with opening our hearts and letting people in ready or not. Hospitality is about connecting and accepting and including and that happens heart to heart not with sparkling cutlery and scented candles. It happens when we let our guard down and kick our shoes off. It happens when it’s about you and not about how my house looks.
Hospitality is this:
”People should leave your presence feeling better about themselves, not better about you.” Shauna Niequist
The theory’s been tested – I’ve had a few impromptu visitors just recently and you know what – the walls didn’t cave in because I wasn’t all “prepared”, they didn’t leave in horror because the house wasn’t all gussied up and sparkly, no scented candles, no home baked cookies, no “entertaining” going on, just the kids inhaling lunch and rampaging around the back yard while we drank cups of tea. My guests didn’t need perfect or organised, they needed some good conversation, a listening ear and a place to relax and take a load off for a bit. Now that I can do any old day of the week – I’m made for that.
My head might think this:
But my heart says this:
But this works just as well.
This probably won’t happen at my place
So even if this crazy brain say’s hospitality is too much hard work – my heart says – the door is open, come on in, relax, be at ease, be yourself – your welcome here and I may or may not take off the pink slippers.
I’m officially giving myself permission to NOT make an event of having people over, in fact I’ll make it a non event.
Instead of trying to have everything perfectly organised I might just make sure the kettles on and/or the wines open and theres a comfy place for us to sit. And to make it easier for this stress head to open her home without too much thinking about it, heres a few very simple things I’ve done to take the pressure off. If you’ve got any more to add to the list share away below but for now I’m keeping it simple and uncomplicated.
- Keeping my table cleaned down. My dining room table is made for people to gather and that happens more when I keep her clutter free and ready. On an average day it’ll look something like this.
And I’ll spare you the bad days.
- I’ve made up another stash – cups, paper plates, tomato sauce (because kids cant seem to live without it) salt and pepper, paper napkins, some cutlery, which I’ve unceremoniously (after I took a nice photo) thrown into a basket that I can grab at a moments notice when needed. That’s a whole lot of things I don’t have to think about pulling together when there are few little mouths to feed in a hurry.
- And I’m keeping a few basic items for snacking on in the cupboards – yes up high away from the kids – that can be pulled out when needed. Salsa, corn chips, microwave popcorn always go down well as well as a few drinks – the rest of the food will just have to take care of itself on the day.
But – – – if the basket is empty and my secret stash has been raided and even if my table has sewing on and papers strewn, my door will be open and – – – – you’ll be welcome any way.
May we remember that as long as we answer the call to give attention to others without demanding theirs in return, we are true hospitality makers. And may we relax knowing that simple is always, always enough. Kristen Strong
Thanks so much for reading. Would love to hear your thoughts.
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