A few months ago, my husband’s friend Shawn was passing through town and needed a place to crash for a night.
Without question, we said he could stay with us.
The week leading up to his arrival was hectic, and the weekend wasn’t much better. I tried not to be overwhelmed by the thought of having a house guest, even one as nice as Shawn.
I apologized as soon as I greeted him, for the chaos of toys and cheerios littering the wood floor.
He laughed and said “I have four kids – I’m used to craziness.”
I let out a small sigh of relief, but thoughts of inadequacy crept quickly back into my mind as I prepared my son Elias’s bed for Shawn. (We don’t have a guest room, so Elias slept on an air mattress so Shawn could be comfortable in his bed.)
We need to get a bigger bed for Elias so guests don’t have to sleep in a twin.
We really must buy some blinds for this room’s windows.
There isn’t even an alarm clock in here.
Then I went to the hallway linen closet and pulled out some clean towels for Shawn. As I placed the towels in the bathroom, I looked around at walls half stripped of blue 90s wallpaper. I shook my head as the thoughts came back.
We really have got to get this wallpaper done.
This bathroom would be so much prettier with a new light in it.
If only we had more time…
The next morning, Shawn mentioned our bathroom wallpaper removal project.
I quickly apologized.
He laughed and said, “I know how hard it is. I used to do painting.”
When Shawn left, he hugged me, thanking me for our hospitality.
Shawn’s kindness left a profound impact on me. He reminded me of an important truth – hospitality always wins.
Why do we as women put so much stock in our home’s appearances? They do not have to look like they are from a home dec blog to be welcoming.
They can have ugly wallpaper and still be inviting.
Because it’s not about the wallpaper. It’s about the love and the people.
I have never left someone’s home and remembered if the shelves were dusty – I remembered the conversations had and the community shared.
This month, many of you will be hosting an (in)RL gathering your homes. (I was planning on doing the same until yesterday when I secured another space that was a bit more convenient for Nashville folks). I want to encourage you that if you are like me, you might have a lot of items on your home to do list and feel like your home is not perfect. Maybe cheerios can always be found underfoot – because who can win that war? – and that’s okay.
Because your door and heart are open to real community happening.
By Jessica Turner of The Mom Creative