I am not a part of the class of women who, for generations, like their mothers before them, are homemakers. I initially resisted this but my husband was quite insistent. He pushed and persuaded and eventually, I gave in. I left the house-making plans behind, and I attempted to make a home.
A few weeks after Hubby and I started dating, I knew I was madly in love. It caught me suddenly. We were hanging out with a church group – sitting around, making small talk. There was a young man who was mentally impaired. He was hard to talk to. He was kind and everyone was polite but he was excruciatingly detailed in everything he said. If you asked about his day, you needed to prepare for a 15 minute play by play. I tried to go out of my way to be kind, but often, I could only muster up a question or two.
On this particular evening, Hubby met this man and we sat and talked with him. For two hours. As I watched the evening unfold, I knew I wanted to marry this man who loves people and was willing to pour into their lives.
Flash-forward to our wedding and move to Hawaii. I was eager to set-up house. I began hanging pictures and setting up my display of china tea cups. I imagined lovely little tea parties with cute little sandwiches and intricate cookies.
Our first guest, single young men in the military, stayed several hours later than I anticipated. So did the next ones. Pretty soon, people were just “popping by” unannounced and staying for dinner. Sometimes they brought friends. It was more than I could handle. People were welcome in our house, but I wanted them to come in nice little, two-hour dinner boxes. Not for hours on end.
“The door to our home is always open.”
That was the refrain my husband kept echoing. But I resisted. I wanted my things to be separate. Our three bedroom house was ours. Eagerly, I grasped for control over every inch of it.
Ignoring the loneliness and missing family dinners and gatherings, I persisted in my control.
But our house, Hubby wanted to make it a home. And he recognized what I didn’t – that the difference between a house and home is the sharing. So share we did.
Playing the begrudging hostess soon blossomed into true fellowship. Choosing to listen to this wisdom and opening the door to our home was one of the wisest decisions I ever made. It cost me time, energy, and emotion, but in return, the love was overwhelming.
Love was living life and opening our doors and hearts and letting others into it. It looks like a full table and riveting conversation. It looks like people stopping by to take out the trash and change my car oil when Hubby was deployed. The comfort and joy of having rooms that we empty, filled with people and memories.
A good friend stopped me in my tracks last year when she reminded me that, at the final judgement, Jesus will not ask if the laundry was done.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” – Matthew 25:35-36, ESV
Opening our home is one of the most Christian things we have ever done. It’s been sacrificial. It’s taken time and energy. People knock when we want just sit and watch TV, so we invite them in to join us and make popcorn.