Our family pets were a Golden Retriever named Rosie and rescued Jack Russell affectionately known as Dixie Doodle. We shared living space for almost 20 years. Our family of four was made more complete with the antics and unconditional love of these two dogs.
To clarify I am not speaking of myself. Although my creativity fully radiates on the holidays, I am referencing another nut, the Pecan. Where would Thanksgiving be without it?
Scruffy hospitality is liberating! House cleaning is important but it shouldn’t prevent us from opening up our home. Mess means a house well lived in. Community building amongst friends and strangers is healthy for our souls even without the pinterest perfect setting!
A Wasteland of Dust
It remains invisible until I walk through the house and see my home from my guest’s point of view: fingerprints on the fridge, books and journals piled high next to our reading chairs, a thin layer of dust settled on picture frames and window sills. If the measure of dust on the top of the fridge is the true test of good housekeeping, I fail miserably.
Then there are the chips, the cracks and the broken. My shabby chic style is very forgiving and suits my personality. But anticipated guests can be the perfect incentive to clean and repair. Depending on the occasion I have been inspired to paint, buy new dishes and replace forlorn linen. All the acceptable flaws in my home start to stand out with the anticipated arrival of guests and my adrenaline kicks in.
But the desire to make everything picture perfect can be very limiting. Dust and messiness shouldn’t keep me from offering up my home for gatherings. We crave each other’s company. Scruffy hospitality is a brilliant trend. Don’t let the pressure of having pinterest perfect meals and settings prevent you from enjoying good company and conversation.
The housework can wait. What freedom to say, come for dinner and don’t mind the mess. It’s easy to throw together spaghetti with fresh baguettes and salad for perfect comfort food or suggest a potluck with a few of your friends.
Practicing Hospitality is life giving. Dr. Christine Pohl has an awesome teaching position, Professor of Church in Society. She researches and writes about how Christians should practice “welcoming”. She has two books I recommend – they are not recipes books or how to set an inviting table landscape.
Her writings describes how hospitality can have a profound affect on community and the individual. Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition and Living into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us are two books I recommend if you want to dig deeper and encourage thoughtful reflection.
Make Community Happen
Community meals can happen with a sink full of dirty dishes. Warm touches of candles and homemade dessert paired with stimulating conversation are the essential components of entertaining. I sometimes have Conversation Starters at each place setting to be sure everyone has the opportunity to share and help to get to know one another more.
A Lost Beatitude
Blessed are the guests. Buffing and polishing commences in their anticipated arrival! Or not and that’s okay.