The sink was full of dishes stacked high, overflowing onto the countertop. Pants, shirts, and socks rose in a mound on the master bedroom bed, and thick layer of dust covered every surface in the living room except for the places my seven-year-old had traced her fingertips.
Basketball, a sweet 16 game, played on the tv much too loud for the conversations taking place over it. The front and back doors stood wide open as kids ran in and out, shrieking while playing a game of tag.
Two large pizza boxes sat in the middle of dining room table, which was still scattered with the remnants of breakfast. A cooler sat in the foyer, lid propped open, full of drinks, ice quickly melting.
No one seemed to care or even notice the mess. Especially not my husband, the current host of the party. They laughed, and ate, and cheered for the teams on the screen, as I walked in; late to join the party.
My first response was to hurry and tidy up. To offer up a side salad and wash the dirty table down. But my husband, and friends, beckoned me to join them. Which i did, hesitantly. I was tired from a long day and didn’t have the energy to clean up the mess surrounding me. I figured if our guests had stayed, then they weren’t too concerned and perhaps I shouldn’t be either.
I learned a lot about hospitality from my husband that night. He didn’t stress about the state of the house, or worry about providing our guests with a plethora of options from the food pyramid. He didn’t make anyone uncomfortable with apologies about the condition of our home or hurry to bake brownies before they arrived.
He simply provided a welcoming atmosphere and made sure they had hot pizza, cold drinks and somewhere to sit. He provided them a place where they were welcome just as they were, whether that be all cleaned up, or like me, a bit disheveled from the day.
He provide hospitality in the context of real, everyday, messy life. The one where we rushed off to swim practice, followed by birthday parties, and didn’t have time to fold the load of laundry or wipe those stray scrambled eggs away.
He didn’t make it about him. Which I often, and quite frequently, do. I decline hosting or having playdates because my sink is full and snack bin is almost empty. I shut the door, and shut out others for fear of what they might think or worst what they might see; a messy house and a messy heart.
My husband demonstrated to me that day that hospitality isn’t about me. No one cares about the un-vacuumed floor or hand-smudged windows. My guests could care less about nutritional value provided or properly fluffed pillows. They don’t assess my worth based on the state of my home.
And neither does God.
How often do I also do this with my faith? I think I have to hide my dirty stacks of laundry and polish my floors instead of revealing my imperfect but beautiful life for fear that someone may deem me unworthy, that God may deem me unworthy. But we don’t have to have it all perfectly put-together to love, and serve, and build relationships. Like my husband taught me, we can host an impromptu get-to-together in the midsts of our everyday life. In the midsts of our mess. And I guarantee our homes and hearts will be better because of it.