The other day I was driving, just minding my own business and listening to the latest audiobook I had downloaded when BAM! out the blue I was sitting in my car, tears rolling down my face, wondering why in the world I ever thought listening to audiobooks was better than the mindless music on the radio. The book I am listening to is on friendship, apropos for the season of life I find myself in-both desperately needing community and desperately wanting to sit alone with my thoughts and without anyone clamoring for something. This specific chapter was on hospitality and I feel the need to listen to it 100 more times. I don’t often purchase the books I listen to, but this one is probably going to make the list.
The reason it hit me so hard is because I have felt this pull towards perfection since we moved. This pull to get my house in order before we invite people inside. We bought this house to invite people in and to build community. I have let things like paint colors and unopened boxes get in the way of opening our home. I have let dirty dishes and less than spotless floors and counters keep me from saying “come on over.” I have let Pinterest dictate what my house should look like instead of letting people inside.
Perhaps bigger, I have let the desire to present a completely put together self dictate my hospitality. Clean house, clean kid, well-thought out, healthy meals on appropriate dishware, and hair and make-up and clothes just so. I have let the pressure to act like I have this whole working mom-wife-community activist thing figured out. When the bigger reality is, what I desperately need is someone to come eat less-than-stellar food and chat while I fold the endless piles of laundry. Or someone to sit on my porch and drink a cup of tea while I ignore the corners of my house collecting dog hair and cobwebs. I mean, isn’t this what we all desire? Isn’t this perhaps the biggest tragedy of our busy lives? The loss of the habit of just showing up, uninvited and unannounced.
I have also let fine dictate my vocabulary. The author talked about how as women we need to give up fine from our vocabulary because none of us are ever really fine. We may be good or stressed or struggling or feeling like we are super mom for .2 seconds, but we aren’t really ever just fine. And we will never find deep, meaning connection in fine. We only find deep connection in the raw, honest moments.
So while my house project list is still endless, my focus for this season is on relationships and hospitality. We could also use a little more of both of those in our lives.