Hospitality 101

Clean houses make me nervous.

If I am coming over to your house, please don’t strain yourself by cleaning for hours. I really don’t require your home to look like a staged photograph from House Beautiful. It would make me feel like I’m going to break or spill something. Not that I am overly klutzy or anything. It’s just that all that order puts me on the defensive.

I like clutter. It looks a lot like my brain, so I am comfortable in the middle of it. I actually prefer a few coffee cups in the sink; a few toys here and there on the floor. To me, these things are decorations. It’s the proof that life is happening right here. There is peace in that fact, and I am instantly at ease.  It’s the polar opposite of how I'd feel in House Beautiful.

Little messes tell me that you have priorities, and getting on with them trumps the vacuum. You are silently witnessing to me the fact that you dive into the joy of the moment- the child on the floor trying to crawl, the phone call from a friend who needs you today.
You don’t have to tell me not to look at your dining room table. Mine looks the same way. Oh! You think you’re supposed to eat off that? Come on now. We all know the ‘dining room table’ is a code word for: ‘file folder.’ As in: "I don’t know where to put it...I know! I’ll put it on the file folder!"

The fact that you’ve invited me here shows me how much you value the friendships in your life. The fact that you didn’t find it necessary to sterilize your kitchen tells something too. You know I’ll be comfortable with your life, and you don't mind letting it just hang out there for me to see.

The dishrag, hung over a kitchen chair to dry, is a familiar sight. It makes me feel like I have a sister!  Chairs are multi-taskers, just like us. They’re not just for sitting. They are a clothesline too! I recognize what I see and I'm at home.

So let’s get together for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. But only if you promise me not to fuss. I enjoy seeing your toys and papers spread out on the floor and on the dining room table. It gives me the contentment of seeing another life that is always moving, but never fast enough to erase the joy.

I don’t want to be a reason for you to worry. I want to be a reason to celebrate, relax, talk and laugh. You can sweep, dust, vacuum and scrub later. After all, I’m here to visit you. Not your house.

Linking today with: Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday, Sharing His Beauty, Playdates with God
                                Unite!, Titus2sdays, Teaching What is Good