Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Imperfect Hospitality

"When hospitality becomes an art it loses its very soul." 

I read a lot... about everything... I read books, blogs, facebook feeds, signs on the streets, even cereal boxes.  Sometimes that stood in the way of my hospitality.  I am not the person who will think of little cute flags to decorate her cupcakes with, or get matching linens, or make homemade tags for the glasses.  I live in a one-bedroom apartment where I don't have a space to set up a nice buffet table (on top of that we don't even have many serving dishes so often our food ends up being served straight out of the pot).  I do not make the greatest hostess.  I often get stressed right before the guests get there as I realize my huge gap between what I wanted to happen and the reality of what will indeed happen.  That frustrated me often.  I was realizing that I am unlikely to ever be as good as some of those hospitality/decoration ideas/cooking bloggers and I was becoming more and more uncomfortable with having people over.

Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day.  Hubby & I were going to stay home, grill veggie burgers on George Foreman (our very random Independence Day tradition), and watch fireworks on TV.  Over the course of the weekend we've been talking to some people in the ministry we're involved in and some of our friends didn't know exactly what to do.  A simple invitation of "Well, we're staying home and grilling veggie burgers on George Foreman... you're welcome to join us if you'd like"  was enough to have 5 more people join us last night.

As always I was not perfect.  My dessert had an accident (praise God for a wonderful creative husband who figured out how to fix it instead of getting stressed)... and I was not ready by the time the first guests arrived. 

But despite all that we had a great time.  Conversations were started, food was eaten, a movie was watched, followed by my imperfect patriotic dessert... and all was well.  I am learning now that you don't have to be perfect to extend hospitality, to fill your home with friends and laughter.  I read this quote here the other day "Aiming for perfection will only frustrate. Aiming for grace and excellence is better."  And this is what I will strive to do.  I will strive to become a better hostess but I will not strive to be a perfect one.  I will enjoy my friends and not stress over little things (hey, even if the dinner is ruined - there's always take-out).  I will extend my hospitality and not hinder it for this is how friendships are formed and love of Christ is expressed.

You may not have everything you need to pull off a great "party"... but you don't need to invite people to a "party"... invite them to your "home" and share your life with them.  They will appreciate it even more.

I am linking up here today


~*~Felicia~*~ said...

Such a great post! I do love to be very creative and cute-sy when I am a hostess, but I do feel the frustration when I see other women who are REALLY creative and I feel like I've fallen short. Such a great post to remind us to strive for excellence in everything we do! :-)

Holly@A Life-Size Catholic Blog said...

You post is so true! Sometimes we get caught up in what we think something should be, and forget to enjoy what it is.

I found you through the Women Living Well hop, and am following. I hope you can find the time to stop by my blog too.

Many blessings!

Ma said...

Great post. There have been several times where I've wanted to have people over & I find myself backing off because everything isn't perfect. I've found that I've really missed out those times. When we go somewhere their house, decorations, etc aren't always perfect & we end up having a great time anyway. It is important to strive to be our best but not get so intense about it. It looks like you're finding a good balance. Hope you have a blessed day!

Amber said...

Hi! Just found your blog through the Raising Homemakers link-up. I was interested in your post because I'm currently running a series on my blog on Biblical hospitality. And, you're right, practicing hospitality is so much more than cute cupcakes and place markers (although those things are fun if you enjoy creating such things as I do!) But they're not to be the deciding factor of whether or not we're capable of hospitality because Christ commands us to be hospitable to one another. And He certainly didn't have any fancy-schmancy tidbits when He walked the earth. Anyway, so great to hear that you were able to take everything in stride, and kudos to your husband for helping to save the dessert! Gotta be thankful for that! Bless you!

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