“Hey, I’m kind of by your house, can we stop by for a bit?”
I looked around the living room and assessed the situation, aka war zone. There was a pile of laundry the baby had strewn all over the living room floor; there were dishes covering the countertops; my floors were covered in crumbs; my two kids were running around without any clothes on—one in her undies, the other in a diaper.
“Are you in your pajamas?” I asked.
“Of course I am, so are my kids,” she laughed, like I should have known better than to even ask. “I don’t have a bra on, either.”
“Great, me too. Come on over,” I said.
When my friend arrived a few minutes later, she let herself and her kids in the door and walked into my living room. She came in and sat down next to me on the couch and the words that came out of my mouth next still shock me: “I’m so glad you’re here and just stopped by!” I said as I reached over and hugged my pajama-wearing friend. We smiled, tossed some Goldfish to our hungry kids who were now all sitting in the pile of laundry on the floor, and started to chat.
Hospitality didn’t always used to look like this at my house. Hospitality used to be me scrambling to have swept floors and pretty snacks on a plate and me in something other than pajamas. Hospitality used to be me trying to be polished and put together.
And hospitality used to always start with, “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry” there are dishes in the sink. “I’m sorry” there are toys everywhere. “I’m sorry” I look like someone who just got out of bed. “I’m sorry” we don’t have very much room. When I say “I’m sorry” to my guests, my friends, about all of these things, what I’m really saying is “I’m sorry you’re having to see my real life.” You see, when we’re seeking these real, RAW friendships that we all say we’re so desperately craving, finding and nurturing them can’t start with “I’m sorry.” It has to start with, “This is me. And I’m so glad you’re here.” And I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of having people over to my home and asking for forgiveness for my family living in my house the moment they walk through the door, aren’t you, friend?
Hospitality. It starts with the condition of your heart and saying, “I’m so glad you’re here!” and loving people right where they are. It’s throwing some Goldfish to your ravaging kids on the floor and sitting on the couch, just being in the middle of the mess together. It’s letting go of our Martha hands of busyness and having an intimate heart of relationship like Mary. Hospitality is about the soul of your home, not the cleanliness of it.
And just for the record, I DID put a shirt on my toddler before my friend and her kids came over. But pants? Nope. Hospitality also means kids sans pants here. And nothing is ever going to change that.