In a pinterest world of hospitality, I am learning how to live authentically, not perfectly. I see pictures online of friends gathering together, and there are perfect place settings, with matching plates and crafty centerpieces. And I’m just chillin over here with my mismatched plates, and lack of craft ability and I start to wonder if maybe I’m falling short in my hospitality gifting. I love people, I love welcoming them to my home, and I especially love sharing a meal with them. I think magic happens at the table. For some reason people seem to be more vulnerable with a full stomach. But when I compare my gatherings to other people’s I start to wonder if maybe I’m not doing it right.
But as I think about it more, I start to think that maybe there isn’t one size fits all hospitality. Maybe it isn’t about the state of your house, but instead the state of your heart. Maybe it does’t matter if your plates match or if you’ve cleaned every nook and cranny in your home. In fact I’m beginning to think that actually, messy hospitality is fertile ground for vulnerability. Maybe my lack of spotless floor boards and my full sink put you at ease. Maybe authenticity doesn’t begin in words, but in deeds… or lack of deeds in the case of my floor boards. Maybe it starts with, “Hey, welcome to my life. It’s a mess, but there is a space for you in it!” Maybe it begins with inviting people in, without pretending that we have it together more than we really do. Because I think we’re all big ol’ messes on the inside, barely keeping it together, ya know? And I think when we see that someone else is just living, and inviting us to live life with them in all it’s messiness, it lets us live a little more freely. We look at their life and we breathe a big sigh of relief and say, “You too? Hallelujah!” I think real hospitality is not about perfection, but instead it’s about community.
My house is a mess. But come on over anyway! I don’t have a perfect meal planned… in fact we’re eating frozen pizza. But it’s Freschetta, so come on over anyway! My sauces are store bought, and if I can burn it… I probably will. Also, sometimes I accidentally put chili powder in chicken noodle soup. Don’t say I haven’t warned you. But come on over anyway! Because to be honest, I’ve tried to fake that whole “host who has it all together” bit, and can I just say it’s literally impossible for me. But I need you to know that there is a seat for you at our table. And I’m saving a spot just for you on our comfiest couch. And we will eat yummy desserts, because that is one thing I can do well, and we will laugh, and we will talk about deep things because small talk isn’t really my thing. Aint nobody got time for that. I want to know you, who you really are. Welcome to my table. You can be yourself here… we all can. Also, try not to hold my mismatched plates against me.