So the second part of the my “tag line” in the title is Hospitality.
Henri Nouwen stated – “Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.”
Hospitality has been big in my family for years and years. Not fancy parties, though definitely parties have been put on. My grandfather was extremely outgoing. My grandmother was not. Back in the 40s and 50s traveling missionaries and preachers were always put up in church family homes. My grandmother and grandfather hosted on many occasions. Despite my grandfather having to get up at 4:30 or earlier to milk his dairy cows and then again 12 hours later, my grandmother always was ready to give hospitality to visitors. When she died, my mother inherited her recipe book and in it were dozens of fancy dessert recipes and bread recipes. She was the woman who baked buns for all of the luncheons they had at church.
My mother, too, has always been very open. I think one summer, they had 50 nights of company. It may have even been more. Always wanting to make sure people felt at home, my mother cooked and baked well. She and my father had countless parties for his students and even now that my dad is retired, she still has friends over on a regular basis. People are always stopping by to visit.
I want to be like my mother and grandmother. Hospitality, for me, is not about having a perfect home. You should see it most days. I am a very messy person and suffer from clutter blindness (It’s a thing, I promise). In spite of that, I still want people to come over. I still want to have a space for God to use me to bless others. I would rather have a messy house and yet “create free space” than to have a home that feels sterile and uncomfortable. I know I don’t have a lot of pretty things and my furniture doesn’t really match either. So if my laundry room is overflowing, don’t worry, there is still space for you. If the bathroom hasn’t been cleaned in 3 weeks, there is still room for you. If the dust elephants and tumble dogs (if you have a dog, you know what they are) are floating in the air, there is still room for you to come in and share a cup of coffee and a chat. Hospitality is more than a pretty house. Hospitality is a heart attitude. It is an attitude of letting people in. It is being honest and welcoming. It is a listening heart. It is more important to allow people in to our homes and hearts.
I want this blog to be hospitable too. I want it to show you the real side of life. The side that says despite the fact that the blog isn’t perfect or Pinterest worthy, it doesn’t matter. I would rather have you “over”. It is not just my space. For the time you are here it is your space. For you are more important than perfection.
And so in this (blog) space, I want you to feel free. I want you to see that hospitality is more than just a pretty home or a fancy dinner with candles (I don’t even own any nice ones), it is place for God’s grace to be shown to others. It’s a place to let go of the stresses of the world and rest. This space is free for you to comment to start a conversation. I want nothing more than to encourage friendships and conversation and laughter even if they are via computer. So rest here while I go and make a cup of coffee.
Maybe the words I write in this space will show you the grace that you need to hear and freedom undisturbed to sit and rest. I pray that it is so.