Last night I was reminded of the importance and joy of hospitality. A friend came by later in the evening. She stayed and laughed and shared her heart. Her presence was a great gift to me.
The repercussions of making and serving lunch yesterday were still evident when she came by, plus books and art supplies were scattered across the dining room table. Our house was a tad untidy. This didn’t hinder us from enjoying each other’s company.
Although having a clean home is refreshing, more important is having a welcoming home. If I am more concerned about the mess than I am about my company, the real distraction is not the mess, but my pride. At one point in my life, I would have been so preoccupied with someone seeing my house messy that I would have rushed her right back out the door.
Hospitality means keeping the guest in mind even if no visit is planned. In this, there is a balance to find. I like to always have my home in a state in which any impromptu guests would not be grossed out, but not have the cleanliness of my home be my focus all the time. By allowing others to see our natural day to day mess, I am inviting others into how we truly live. I am welcoming them into our well used home. The real gifts in hospitality are building relationships, learning to put others first, a chance to practice listening, a time to share. This is truly art.