Help me to see people unfolding and not projects undone. Help me to set aside ego and externals and endless to-do lists. Help me to embrace humility always and hospitality anyway. Help me to make a Christ room in my house and my heart. ~Laura Kelly Fanucci
As I read these words from Laura's post, "The House is a Mess; Come On In," they gave me more than a moment's pause. Perhaps it is because our house is in a perpetual state of disarray, some due to the natural state of being with two children under 5, and some because cleaning is not my natural state of being. Yes, I would rather be typing this than dusting the shelves.
Her words remind me that I need to constantly be seeking and making room for Christ in my natural state and not waiting for the perfect time. Beyond that, they also led me into a deeper reflection about the meaning of a home and what it signifies to the world.
The word "home" invokes a multitude of emotions depending your experience. It can be a memory of comfort and refuge, and at the same time, for some it can be a longing for something that never was.
In its ideal form, home is a sense of belonging, a deep pool of love, a place to rest and reignite the spark of the divine when life has threatened to snuff it out. Home is where we begin to understand and unveil our deepest identity - the beloved.
Home does not belong to us - it is given to us, as is every blessing, to share. Our homes are places of gathering, of invitation, of community. They are the places where we come together to laugh and to weep, to fill ourselves and be emptied. Radical hospitality begins with recognizing that our homes are not just fortresses for our own refuge.
Radical hospitality is inviting people into ourselves. Our whole selves. Our messy, we are a work in progress but at least we aren't standing still, selves. Why? It gives others permission to breathe. And live. And be. Just be. To know that we don't need to put on airs when we welcome them into the reality of our lives shows our confidence in who we are, not what. It shows that we understand that our homes are places where love happens, where life is lived, and where grace is poured out because we know we need it in abundance.
When I wait to have people over until the perfect time, or until the laundry is put away, or clothes and toys are not strewn about, or the floors are finally swept, mopped, and perfect clean...when I wait for an image of what is not real, I put up a wall between myself and the one I'm welcoming. We create a facade of expectation that keeps one another at bay instead of welcoming each other in to say, "yes, we are in this together."
|Scenes from real life...|
Writing this gives me some anxiety. It means that I may actually have to do what I say. I may have to invite others in to the mess that is my life and my home and suffer the embarrassment. Can I ask you to brave the journey with me?
What's the worst that could happen? You get a reputation for being a sloppy homemaker? Others talk about what your house looks like? I guess that's a price we have to pay if we are going to try to create room for love to happen. Are we brave enough to look past the raised eyebrows and open our homes to love one another even in the middle of our messes?
If we, as Laura reminds us, are to make room for Christ in the mess, we have to make room for one another without fear as well. As we welcome one another, we welcome Him. Who knows? Maybe we will even be entertaining angels who may like leftover cheerios, playing with toys, and building blanket forts. Can you imagine their disappointment if we had hidden them away?!?
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,
for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Until next time, let's love 'em like Jesus...messy house or not!