The holiday season earnestly makes me nervous when I think of having friends and family to my busy, crazy and sometimes messy home! Any one else feel this way??
Hospitality can be an art – from matching guest towels to catering meals designed to guests likes and dislikes. Hospitality, by definition means the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Sometimes as a mom I feel like I barely have things together with two kids running about, a crazy darling puppy, a blog and a home business I run with my husband. When it comes to having guests for a meal, the weekend or family that come far to stay several weeks, I earnestly want them to feel welcome but the task may seem unattainable.
When earnest dad and I were newly married, I remember the very first time we hosted dinner for our friends and I was a nervous wreck. Was the apartment clean enough, will dinner be ready on time, will there be enough food, what if I make something they hate? These things ran through my mind over and over the week preceding this dinner. Naturally on whim, my husband and I looked up some fancy recipe and decided we must make it for them. I remember the recipe vividly, and I remember that our guests absolutely loved the meal and were thankful for our effort but were happier to spend time and fellowship with us. That night I realized, I want my guests to feel welcomed and comfortable in my home but I cannot do this effort at a cost to my own sanity (which was tested by THAT recipe).
Eight years, a dog and 2 earnest children later, I still get nervous that I may mess things up when I have company but I have learned to take it easy and go with the flow. I know that with any effort at all my guests will notice, whether my nerves allow me to go all out and make all homemade meals or do half take out, they feel loved when they walk in my door because I have learned to relax. When I get frantic, which I must admit I still fall into that old habit, I get flush, bossy and I rush – none of which help set a calm and warm atmosphere. Sometimes there are still some dishes in the sink, there may be unfolded laundry on the bed or the windows may need some extra cleaning attention but my home is always open to friends and family who want to visit. We are a mess at times but we are always welcoming.
I find the more I go out of my comfort zone, the more I have people over (planned or unannounced) the more I can let go of the things that I cannot control and enjoy the loving faces that walk through my door. If you ever find yourself worried that something may not be good enough or anything enough, remember you are enough in all that you can do. And when you open your home, welcoming people into your family’s life and time it is always special regardless of the menu or softness of sheets. The more you host, the easier it gets and the easier gets, the more hospitable you become!