I had coffee with my fellow local writer-mom friend Laura at our neighborhood Starbucks. Somehow in the conversation she noted how she had stopped by my house last summer and my house was not “perfect,” but instead it felt “lived in” and that I have other priorities, like people and travel.
“Your house is always so homey and down to earth and you don’t care about it being perfect, and it shows your house is lived in and that you care more about relationships and people and experiences and being with your family and friends,” my fellow mom friend said to me.
It’s about looking at being present over living in perfection, being there over being absent, it’s about welcoming over being unavailable, it’s about inviting in; hospitality begins with just inviting in.
But, later she texted me and said: “Thank you sooo much for our coffee chat today! You are a bright light in my life, and I feel so blessed to have the gift of your wonderful friendship. Also, I hope you know I wasn’t saying your house was messy! I was trying to say that it inspires me to prioritize what is important…travel, family time, experiences, a home that is warm, inviting, cozy, etc.”
She then added: “With that in mind, here’s a picture of my family room right now.” The photo showed homework strewn across the floor and pillows haphazardly tossed and a towel on the couch and a “lived-in” look.
Because I had invited her into my home when it was not “perfectly picked up,” she felt comfortable showing me her ‘imperfect house.”
Vulnerability begets vulnerability. When we show our imperfect side, people will show theirs. When we invite folks into our home when it is not perfect, they will feel more comfortable inviting us into their home when it is not show -room perfect. It’s about hospitality, community, relationships, people.
I know there are some blogs that say something about not having to perfect to be approved and acceptable or this or that, but when I click to see those particular “not-perfect” blogs, let’s be honest: THEY ARE PERFECT
I mean, come on. If you want model imperfection, stop by my house!
There’s always this balance when it comes to keeping up a house. When we worry about having a perfect house before we invite people into our home, that can feel so overwhelming that we never invite people over.
The same thing can be said regarding having the perfect 7-course meal prepared before we invite anyone over, and so we never invite anyone over.
Until my friend Kristi began inviting us over for soup for dinner. Yep, just soup. Now, mind you that her soup is more like a feast, but the point is well taken.
It gave me permission to invite folks over for “just soup,” rather than a 7-course meal.
Hospitality begins with the invitation. Inviting folks into our home. Making them feel welcome. For soup, and an “imperfect house.”
I remember when that same friend Kristi had stopped by my house when my twins, now 20, were toddlers, and my house truly was a mess. It was 2 in the afternoon and the Cheerios from breakfast were still on the floor and the twins’ highchair where said Cheerios were strewn underneath was not cleaned up, and when my friend knocked on the door to say hi as she was in my neighborhood, I let her in, while apologizing profusely.
My friend then said to me that she was not here to see my house but rather me.
As another friend reminded me, of what I had said to her upon reflection after this Cheerios reflection: “My house is not a museum, we live here.”
Yep, that’s true. And, I am glad. We live here, this is real-life. And, all are welcome to relax and be at home.