~unpacking rwanda, a short series of simple thoughts~
apologizing for anything in our home that the world deems as imperfect is a distraction to our hospitality.
truth be told, if i could go back twenty plus years, this would be what i would snap out of & change. in a heartbeat. i can’t help but think of all the times i blew this one. good grief. and yet when i’m on the flip side i want to tell the hostess who’s apologizing for the whatever ( dated appliances, unfinished decorating, mix-matched furniture, wobbly chair at the kitchen table, stain on the wrinkly slip cover…whatever the whatever may be) that it’s all okay. the very things i apologize for in my own home are things i never even notice or think about in the home of someone else. i’m just thankful for our time together. i’m just loving our friendship. i’m excited about their homemade lemonade. i’m thankful for the friend that trusts me with her heart… that’s the whatever i love.
let me break it down this way.
usually the whatever, wouldn’t be noticed anyway.
the whatever has no effect on the outcome of time spent together.
discussing the whatever takes time away from meaningful communication.
let me make this one personal~
when i name the whatever & draw attention to the whatever, it takes away the focus of blessing my guest and places the focus on things that don’t really matter anyway. or even more convicting, myself. and hospitality isn’t about me.
i have visited homes that are on many a pinterest board. i have seen images of those homes in all their glory…and been impressed. and i have loved visiting those homes & seeing crayons all over the table and crumbs on the floor….signs of life in those homes…signs of life from people i love.
just as you would want to look your best for a family portrait, you want your home to bring its A-game if say… bh&g were showing up. but if regular folks are dropping by, without any bh&g crew to photograph your laundry room, who cares if there’s laundry all in your laundry room….or on the floor outside the laundry room! or that there’s a few stacks of laundry on your kitchen table. heaven forbid real life actually going on in your home. where you live. the dog hair in the corners or the fact that you haven’t freshly lemon oil polished your table is really not a deal breaker. and apologizing that your humble home is humble and not a million dollar mansion takes away from it’s charm.
& let’s look at it from another angle.
what if every pillow is hand-chopped down the middle ( you know what i mean) and the drapes are freshly pressed. windows were recently professionally cleaned and all the stainless appliances are free from fingerprints…and the following is said~ “gosh my home is a wreck”…why would anyone feel comfortable here or welcome here? heaven forbid getting all comfy cozy against the well placed, too big for the chair anyway, hand-chopped down the middle pillow? not i.
i’m totally guilty of this & always have been. and you know what? i’m not even really sure why because i love my home. it’s a two story brick traditional which isn’t “me” but for crying out loud. who cares. and i’m totally fine with my dated (none of which are even stainless) appliances. my ikea furniture is totally doing it’s job and we’re not in debt over the pottery barn pieces that we really couldn’t afford in the first place. the perpetual dog hair on the floor is there because i have always wanted a golden and they shed. that’s why i own a swiffer. big deal.
nester says it this way, “what if you were less hard on yourself for the ways you and your home fail, and you looked instead at what’s already there? what if creating a beautiful home was less about stuff and more about attitude? what if you already have everything you need to have the home you’ve always wanted?
you don’t have to get perfect to have a pretty house. most of us simply need to learn to see the beauty in the imperfect. because life is gloriously messy. we can find rest in our less than perfect circumstance when we figure out that no amount of striving can create the perfect life we think we are looking for. true rest comes when we realize that we can’t get it from trying extra hard. we find rest when we give up”. the nesting place.
it was late in the afternoon as several of us walked down the street to visit a couple of our new friends in their newly acquired homes. having been victims of property theft in rwanda, their lawyers at IJM had recently won their cases! these widows were now in homes again. they walk “around the corner” to their workplace. their children come by on their way home from school. the school these mamas are able to send their children to because they are earning a sustainable wage. as we walked i glanced over my shoulder to see the words ” in god we trust” outside one of their neighbors homes. i smiled thinking to myself thinking about the fact that a country once torn apart, trusts. the women were so joyous as we walked in. i don’t think i’ve ever felt more welcomed! we sat with them and listened to their stories. solange radiates joy as she greets us. teresa beamed as we fussed over the portrait of her and her beloved. we held hands & prayed over them. pinterest was never mentioned. instead, only how special our time was together and how thankful we each were for the other.
that very afternoon, they taught me hospitality at it’s finest.
“he is happiest, be it king or peasant, who finds peace in his home” van goethe
(to see the first in this series, begin here.)