James and I love feeding people. Everyone is happy when they’re full, and we so enjoy making people full and happy.
But before we get to having happiness all around, I’m usually a stressed-out crazy mess. I want everything to go well, for people to feel comfortable, for there to be laughter and good conversation, and for people to leave full and refreshed, so I fret and try to make sure I have everything under control. I think of potential conversations to be had, I worry whether people will enjoy the food, I schedule what should happen when as if I’m holding an event instead of just having dinner with friends.
I’m rolling my eyes at myself.
What I’ve been learning these days is that hospitality doesn’t look like that all the time. It’s less about a perfect night together with friends and more about welcoming and opening our hearts to whomever walks through our door whenever they walk through our door. I love when things are planned down to the minute, but I’m learning that being flexible allows more space for connectedness. I’m learning that hospitality doesn’t have to mean a fancy dinner but that it can just be a cup of coffee and some snacks. I’m learning that cooking for someone does something for both the one who cooks and the one who receives. There is warmth and comfort in it. And I’m learning that only loving people that I want to love is too narrow and that Jesus was the opposite of that. His love is wide and deep and felt.
On a related note, read Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and then come over, and let’s cook, bake, and eat through the recipes together.