We have had an excellent series of sermons about hospitality and what it means to be hospitable and describing what christian traits we should be exhibiting. I've really enjoyed the sermons and I like hearing things preached that I was raised on. These are the things my Grandma Ruth LIVED, and I love to hear them. In fact, last week while our minister, Tim, was preaching Keith began nudging me at all of the bullet points. So much so that I finally said
"WHY do you keep doing that?"
To which Keith replied "because these are all the things you are always harping on."
I don't know if he meant it as a compliment or if he was giving me a hard time but either way, it's true. I do harp on hospitality and I make it an effort to be hospitable. I've lived in places where they wouldn't know hospitable if it slapped them in the face and while I was there, I vowed to myself to do it the way I was raised! Be hospitable in the ways that my Grandma was, and in the grand scheme to be hospitable like Jesus was. When we bought our house I told Keith as soon as we settled I was going to start hosting again. My Grandma always had people over for dinner, coffee, tea, lunch, conversation, prayer, and the list goes on and one. When we moved to Louisiana I had people over all the time. Probably not as much as I would have liked but I did have a baby in the midst of it all! I got out of the habit when we moved to WV (but that's a whole other story!)
When we first moved to Indy I seemed to always have an excuse...we were in an apartment and it was too small, then we didn't have a dining room table so there was no way because I didn't have enough seating, and the list goes on and on. When we bought our house that's when I made the personal commitment to do better! I have tried to make sure to have someone over for dinner at least once a month and to allow Hadley to have a play date at least once a week. I don't always adhere to that and I definitely don't let that hold me back if I want to have more people over more often, and I love it! My daughters have come to expect to have our house full of people and they think nothing of bringing a gaggle of friends in. It's never even occurred to them that there can be such a thing as "too many" kids at a play date or that there might not be room at the table or enough food for everyone to eat. I try so hard to have an open door policy and it's paying off!
Last Sunday at our small group (or home church, or one another group-whatever you may call it) we were discussing the morning's sermon and what we all think hospitality is. There were a couple of people who made comments that "the Richardson's are examples of hospitality" and it humbled me beyond belief! I'm not bragging when I say this, I'm truly humbled that others see this trait in my family.
My food is not always the best (usually edible though!) and my house is rarely "company" clean, and to be honest you probably wouldn't even use the word clean on most days, but my door is opened and clean or dirty, good food or just edible food you are always welcomed here! A good friend once told me "If you're coming to see me, you're welcome anytime. If you're coming to see the house, make an appointment." That's some of the best advice I've heard too because my house is not a show place, we live in it.
I love seeing my friends kids feel comfortable enough to come in my house and grab a cookie, and it feels so good when one of them tackles me with a big hug, or I notice when one of them has a new hair cut. Having our lives intertwined through our children and through shared time together over meals.
I always say (jokingly, but with a lot of truth!) "if we can live in it, company can visit in it for a few hours!" I came to realize that I'd rather have a dirty house full of love than a clean house that's empty! There will always be an excuse not host, the house is dirty, the food didn't turn out right, the kids are cranky...yep, I have all of those things too, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying good times at my house! I quit looking for excuses not to host and started finding reasons to celebrate!