Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Whole Point of Home

I find myself thinking a lot about what "home" really means. Only lately have I caught a glimpse of its truest heart.

Somewhere around the time we moved into our new home things got hectic and messy and before I knew it, I was hosting parties without having my crap together. I was answering the door with no mascara and putting guests to work. It started to not matter so much if the floor was dusty or the soup burned. It was just having them here that mattered - whoever they happened to be.

It seemed like the best way to roll, or at least on some days. (I still harbor the propensity to over-fluff on occasion.)

Community and hospitality are like salt and pepper, baby. They're locked at the elbows.

Community doesn't care about the details. It's happy to lend a hand. Hospitality isn't about impressing guests. It's about opening the door into your world - where you live. It's all of you, whether it falls on one of your glitziest days or one of the yoga pants ones.

It's fully welcoming. Entirely at ease. It's shoes on the carpet or feet on the coffee table. It's babies in the bathtub and picky teenagers texting at the table.

(My dream is for a guest to ask if she can take a nap on my couch. So for real.)

Sometimes, hospitality and community collide with the fine china.

And you feel the love down in your joints.

My Sarah invited me and a few others over for a feast fit for the Dowager Countess last night. I demanded  suggested her signature Chicken Marbella and smashed potatoes. We threw in the salad, bread, and another round of Jolly Gin Fizz.

I walked through her door and the room felt like a hug.

Her home is always beautiful, always inspiring, always comforting. It's who she is.

And that is true hospitality.

I've sat at her table so many times, in so many homes. I've received the gold-star treatment more times than I can count, but I've felt just as loved when it was deli salsa and lime chips.


I want to keep getting better at hospitality. I want to pass that treasure like a dish.

I want to always have room at the table, even on left-overs night. I want my door to stay kicked open, even when the beds aren't made and all the spoons are dirty.

This, this invitation to come in, is worthy of our practice, our attention, maybe even our discomfort.

Our homes are not our own. From the walls to the rugs to the tiny soap on the dish, it has all been shared with us with the expectation that we'll share right back.

 My friend Edie swims straight into the deep end of hospitality in her new e-book, 31 Days to a Heart of Hospitality.  Edie, who lost her home in a fire just two years ago, has journeyed to the far corners of Home - what it means, where we find it, how best to share it with those around us.

Purchase your copy here for just $5.

How do you feel about hospitality? Is it second nature for you? A challenge? Do you, like me, want to keep getting better at it?

(*Read more about my mad love for Edie here.)