It's been a beautiful thing, finding our way back to a regular routine of hospitality. And when I say hospitality, don't envision pinterest boards. Instead, picture spills and kids crying, scorched gravy, and gathering around a kitchen island.
Hospitality looks really different for every family and every season of life. 2014 was not a very hospitable year for the Simons household, as we navigated the treacherous waters of selling and purchasing a home. And now, even while rooms remain incomplete, artwork sits unhung, and tiling and painting projects continue to be unfinished, we are just so grateful to have a place to share, that those things don't deter.
But hospitality doesn't always look like a dinner invitation or an evening chatting and scooping ice cream. Sometimes hospitality looks like folding laundry while listening to burdens, sometimes hospitality looks like cooking a simple meal and inviting yourself over to someone else's unmopped, undusted life. Hospitality, even when the dust settles after a move, begins in the heart.
HOSPITALITY DOESN'T START AT HOME, BUT IN YOUR HEART
You see, I've been thinking about last year, and how we couldn't make our house smell like food, and how we lived like we were a family of 4 (instead of 8) so that the house looked more spacious and less like the zoo that it really is. Oh, and how my business exploded during this season of home staging and I drove myself nuts running a shoppe from a closet. And there were a million other things that served as reasons to not show hospitality...
...but the real reason had less to do with our home and more to do with our hearts. Our family was under immense pressure, and we had zero margin. Between challenges the eye could see and the ones that lie beneath the surface...a heart with no margin had very little room to show hospitality. If hospitality is the welcome mat of the heart, a cluttered and max-ed out life are the dusty shutters.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to keep others at arms length and away from the nitty gritty of your messy, hurting life when you just stay too busy to be hospitable? The very fellowship and community our souls crave when we are facing life's storms can sometimes be the very thing we forfeit because we choose to make room for everything but hospitality...of the heart.
HOSPITALITY IS A SAFEGUARD
We tend to think that hospitality is a convenient gifting that nice Southern girls who perpetually make sweet tea must possess; we tend to think it's for those with time for leisure. I used to think that, but now...Now, I'm convinced that hospitality does more than serves others, it safeguards my heart from hardness and lack of vulnerability...it keeps my heart fleshy, real, and open.
This year has not kicked off any more less demanding, any less chaotic. There are still decisions to be made and priorities to discern. We still have 6 needy, oft-foolish children to feed, clothe, educate, and train up. My writing, painting, and business career has only grown.
But, we've chosen to create margin...to make more room for rest...to plan for more of nothing in the schedule so that something might spring up. Because a heart with no margin can't be hospitable, and a heart that's not hospitable often forfeits the the safeguard of real community.
And so, you will find me instagramming recipes, meals shared with strangers who become friends, and time spent with the saints, but make no mistake: it's less about being fun and social, and more about believing in the dual blessing of hospitality. It goes both ways: blessing and safeguard...and for that, I'm grateful and more than willing to make margin for hospitality.
Because of grace,