Jana is gifted in the area of hospitality. Given her way, she would gladly have folks in our home at all hours. This is an area where I’m being stretched because alot of the time I’m a sullen introvert. And I’m lazy.
But here’s the interesting thing about Jana’s hospitality. She doesn’t believe that everything has to be perfect in order to have people come over. The meal doesn’t have to be just right and the house doesn’t have to be spotless. Don’t get me wrong – she does alot to prepare for people coming over, but to her, those things aren’t paramount in the virtue of hospitality. To her, hospitality in its best and truest form, is inviting someone to enter your life. Not your fake life, but your real life.
That means inviting someone into how bedtime works with the kids. Or to watch a reality TV show. Or to fold laundry. Or play a board game. Whatever. It’s an invitation into our family, as we life our lives.
I think she’s onto something here. Let me quote a little from Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner:
God’s creation gives us a model for making and sharing homes with people, but the reality of God’s Trinitarian life suggests that Christian hospitality goes further than that. We are not meant simply to invite people into our homes, but also to invite them into our lives. Having guests and visitors, if we do it right, is not an imposition, because we are not meant to rearrange our lives for our guests—we are meant to invite our guests to enter into our lives as they are. It is this forging of relationships that transforms entertaining (i.e., deadly dull cocktail parties at the country club) into hospitality (i.e., a simple pizza on my floor). As writer Karen Burton Mains puts it, ‘Visitors may be more than guests in our homes. If they like, they may be friends.’
Jana gets it; I want to get it. My life is messy, and many times, so is our house. It is true community, whether in reference to our home or the lives contained therein, to be able to say, “Welcome.”