The last two days have been a special treat for my soul. I’ve had two precious friends invite me over their homes for lunch and conversation. It’s been marvelous on many levels. First off, I love that the fact that I get to hang out at their home. I get to be a part of their world and it takes our friendship to such an informal level. They allow me to move in for a while and take up space and eat their food and it feels like family. Secondly, I’m always taking students out and paying for their meals. This is my choice, but it was nice to do a lunch date and not have to spend money and not have to go out and not worry about being in the way. I often take students out so I don’t displace Jeremy from our home and that way I’m in a public, safe place with someone’s kid. So the just chilling at home with others has largely been reserved for family in my life. I love that I can have my sister over and I don’t need to make fancy food and get all dressed up. I like that we can watch a TV program or both read a book and not talk and it’s okay. I’m learning how to have relationships like these outside of my own family. I’m learning to open myself up and just be me with other adults.
I’m currently reading a book called Bittersweet by Shuana Niequist and this women loves to host dinner parties. She loves to have people over. It makes me almost feel guilty because for a long time now I have viewed my home as a sanctuary from people and from the world. I am not a hermit, but opening my space just doesn’t come naturally. Hospitality isn’t something that is easy for me. I really admire that gift in others because it is so different than me. I think that is why it has meant so much for me spend these afternoons spent at kitchen tables and sitting on living room floors. It means a lot that they would let me invade their space because my space is so sacred to me. A home is where life is lived – the real life – the loud laughter and the hot tears.
In Bittersweet, Shauna was saying that you’re not really friends if the person you see always has their make-up done and they are always presentable at all times. It made me think. I don’t really wear make-up, but a good judge for me is if I’ll let people see me un-showered and in my comfy clothes. Just last month, I had my friend, Kaly, over for a morning coffee. It was early and I knew I needed to clean my house later and I just didn’t want to get ready so I could get dirty again. If I’m going to getting ready for the day,I only want to do it once. I pulled my hair into a pony tail and put on a fresh t-shirt and sweat pants. Sure I didn’t feel like a glamorous hostess, but I was real and I was honest and Kaly didn’t care. This is progress towards authentic hospitality and deep, trusting friendship.
My lovely friend, Danielle, was supposed to have lunch at my place today, but Jeremy and I have been both been sick this week so I didn’t want her and little niece to come over and get our germs. She graciously opened her home even though she told me that she hadn’t cleaned it. Really I didn’t care! It worked out better anyway so her niece could take her normal nap. Danielle was in her sweats and we sat on the floor and talked even though we could have sat on the couch or chairs. I love this because it’s so real. It’s just being us.
I think being in ministry has made me feel like there is a line between me and people who attend my church. I have felt the need to always be put together and always be fluffy – you know – smiley, happy, and saying churchy things like “God bless you”. I’m not a fluffy person. I am joyful and I am free and I am happy to be who I am. I’m learning to share who I am and not worry so much about if I’m keeping it all together! I’m not all together and I’m okay with that. I make mistakes… I made a fine one this morning on the way out of the house. Instead of being stressed out about messing up, I’m laughing about it. It was an accident and I can’t change it. I have to be okay with less than perfect. I am less than ideal. I know that.
I’m just thankful for friends that love me right where I am. I am thankful to wonderful ladies that shared good food with me and even better conversation. I am blessed because I know that I have a handful of truly amazing people that I could call and they would be there for me in whatever way I need them. Even at a distance, I know that they pray for me and love me. I am so loved. My heart is just happy, full and content. I am me and there are people who are okay with that! I pray that I can get better at the hospitality thing, but even if it never comes naturally, I am thankful for ladies who make it look so easy and love with their doors open wide!