This is my year of living out hospitality. This is my year of focusing on what my heart thrives on... loving on my friends and neighbors, inviting people into our home with little to no hesitation. The year of putting people above convenience and calendars.
But, then we decided to remodel.
Part of our motivation in remodeling is to give us spaces that will be even more welcoming to guests. Spaces that will hold a big kitchen island that will beg to have friends gather around while we prepare dinner to nourish their tummies while the conversations nourish their souls.
But in order to create such a space, the open invitation to come sit and have coffee while the kids play has to be put on hold. The open door has to close.
With our daughter reaching an age that makes entertaining not only possible again, but fun, we had just started truly entertaining again, regularly. We had just begun to host dinner parties in addition to the seemingly continual play dates. And then the kitchen was demolished, the dining room was shoved into the living room. The bathroom was dismantled down the studs. The bedroom emptied into the office. And we are all living upstairs. It's going to be this way for weeks. And while I know it will be worth it, I know we will host dinner parties and coffee mornings with friends again soon, my heart is aching for this to pass quickly. I long to have the open door again as soon as possible.
But in just this first week of remodeling chaos, I have been on the receiving end of hospitality and it has blown me away. I have seen the true heart of kindness and generosity and friendship. Hospitality is so much more than throwing a great party or cooking a decent meal. That is hosting, entertaining.
Hospitality is truly the attitude that always puts people above convenience.
Hospitality is the friend that watches your child who has just learned to swim during a day at the pool so you can sit on the pool deck on the phone with contractors.
Hospitality is the friend that calls to say she is coming by the next morning to pick up your daughter and treat her to a movie and park day with her kids because she knows you need the day to meet contractors in your home.
Hospitality is the friend that opens up her home and says the door will be unlocked; come by anytime to play or just get away from the noise and dust for a while.
Hospitality is the friend that tells you to come do laundry at her house and sends you away with a bag full of freshly baked treats.
Hospitality is the friend that drops by with freshly prepared dinner so you don't have to try to piece together a meal with a kitchen in complete disarray.
Hospitality is the generosity of neighbors that offer to help you do some of the work yourself so your budget doesn't grow out of control.
Hospitality is offering all of these beautiful acts of kindness without waiting for a friend to call and ask out of desperation. It's just showing up, lending a helping hand, meeting a need before one even knew the need was there.
This showering of friendship this week has made all the chaos and stress worth it. It has reminded me just how important it is to have that open door to those around me and to be ever so grateful for those friends that keep their door open for me. These next few weeks are going to be hectic, to say the least, but it's going to be worth it. I look forward to anticipation to having our home open to welcome in everyone who has welcomed our family in with such love and kindness this week.
My heart soars when laughter fills the air and conversations about life and faith cause dinners to be drawn out into the late hours. Our marriage clicks on all cylinders when we are side by side in the kitchen preparing food to serve our friends and neighbors. There is not much that makes us happier than a kitchen full of people that we get to love on and watch as they build friendships among themselves. There is nothing that beats building community and showering friends with grace.
Very soon, our dinner table will reopen. Until then, I am so grateful for the chance to learn what real hospitality looks like and how wonderful it can make a person feel.