Happy Monday! Writing again from a prompt. This week’s was, “How is hospitality a foundational pillar of a homemaker’s home?”
Oh this is a tricky one.
I used to have a real problem with hospitality. Part of it is my introverted nature. I’m shy, I get nervous and fight social anxiety in crowds. The thought of having the crowd at my house can be overwhelming. When I go somewhere, I can always duck out early if I’m feeling stressed or if my social tank empties. When it’s at my house, there’s no way to excuse yourself early. You are the host! You have to be ON!
My other problem is perfectionism. I hate clutter, I hate mess. I strive to keep my house tidy and beautiful on a daily basis. But what if it’s not enough? What if somebody walks in to what I think is clean and thinks, “Good lord, girl, how do you live like this?” What of somebody sneers at all the house projects we have yet to do? What if my housekeeping skills aren’t good enough? What if I’m not good enough? The anxiety spiral begins and I end up turtling, flat on my back and unable to roll over and clean.
Of course, no guest would ever think that. For goodness sake, I never think that when going over to another person’s house! So why would somebody think that of me?
My husband is a social butterfly. He loves to talk, he loves to host, he loves people. This man is seriously the king of children’s birthday parties and when we have people over, he is so gracious and loving. And he doesn’t care about mess. He doesn’t see it, really. When he wants somebody over, he just invites them without labouring over whether or not the house is clean enough to let others see.
I’m trying to be more like him. I think in my perfectionist introversion, I’ve let myself become selfish and proud. Instead of thinking how nice it might be for others to come over for food and fellowship, I have in the past spent way more time worrying over how I feel about cleaning the baseboards that nobody sees. Instead of opening my heart, hands, and home, I have hoarded it like a miser.
Hospitality is not a pillar of our home, but it’s steadily becoming such. If you walked in right now, you’d see dishes in the sink and mud near the door. You’d see messy hair and bills on the kitchen counter. But you’d see our real home. The house doesn’t have to be perfect for me to welcome somebody who might need cup of tea or some lunch. It just has to be warm, a home, a safe haven.
Even with the pandemic, I’ve (safely) had more people over to my house than I’ve ever had in my life. Strangely, I think the pandemic itself has taught us all about the value of community. I want to love well the people who are dear to me and sometimes that means making them food, letting them sit on our mismatched couches, and enjoying time spent together. As Covid goes away, I hope to invite many more to my home! I want this to be a place of joy and shelter.
I’m working on humility and part of that is not putting forward a false face of perfection. The way you see the house on a school night is the way it is. Sorry for the mess, but thank you for coming! I’m working on not being selfish. My social anxiety and introversion should never keep me from serving those who need me. Yes, I’m tired, but you are too, so how can I help?
Hospitality doesn’t require perfection or extroversion. It just requires a heart that loves to serve, a home that is open, and a willingness to put others first.