The Real Hospitality
by Carmie Sanchez
Hospitality. That can be a rather daunting word. Sometimes when I think of being hospitable, I think of the perfect hostess, one whose house, food, clothes, and children are all Pinterest ready. And I suddenly feel inadequate…suddenly I am very aware of the fact that my house is pretty much the farthest thing there is from being the next most popular pin on Pinterest. You aren’t very likely to find anything from my wardrobe pinned on someone’s fashion board; my fridge doesn’t hold a plethora of exotic foods that I can throw together into wonderfully tasty dishes; and my children? Oh do we even have to go there? Angelic cherubs they are not. And never mind the busyness that comes with life and having children.
It seems that when it comes to hosting, even just a one-on-one chat with a friend over cookies and a refreshing drink is hindered by any number of excuses that we can manage to come up with.
My house doesn’t look nice.
I’m not a good cook…what would we eat??
I’m too nervous. What if the conversation falls flat and gets awkward?
I am so busy, I don’t have time to host people!
I can’t host people, it’s out of my comfort zone.
You know, I get that. I feel that way too.
But you know, sometimes we forget that there are things more important than our never ending to-do list. There are people and relationships that also need tending to. I so easily forget this. I can get so caught up in my own little world and busy routine that I forget that there are other people walking through this same stage of life with me.
Even if my house isn’t perfect, I want to welcome people of all ages and backgrounds into my home and I want them to know that they are loved and cared for. If they can sense that from me, I don’t think they will be bothered by the fact that the linoleum on my kitchen floor is chipped and stained and needs to be replaced.
I want love to flow here because that is real hospitality. I don’t want people to feel like they are just a time slot on my calendar that I managed to squeeze into my busy schedule. I want them to feel cherished and I want to take time for them.
Because I’m pretty sure life will never slow down, there will always be something. But in the middle of all your doing, please remember that there are people who also need loving.
I admit, there are seasons in our lives where it is just not feasible to host people. But we don’t always have to wait for things to “slow down”. Because I’m pretty sure life will never slow down, there will always be something. But in the middle of all your doing, please remember that there are people who also need loving. Remember that you, weary mother, need loving even if it means that you are the one extending an invitation to a friend to come over for tea and cookies. Who knows, maybe they need it more than you do.
Don’t worry about having a house that’s in perfect order, good grief, we all know there’s at least one person living in your house. Don’t think about the time that could maybe be spent checking off another item on the to-do list. The honest truth is, you might be a breath of fresh air to them. Maybe they need to see that your honest, real life is not always perfectly put together.
We have been given friends for a reason, and cultivating those friendships, showing real hospitality, is totally worth it.
Carmie Sanchez has served on staff at DOP since 2013, blessing us with her many talents, including writing and photography. Read more of her ponderings on her blog, Come Thou Fount.