What do you do if you want to practice the spiritual discipline of hospitality, but feel as though you or your house is never clean enough, good enough, fill-in-the-blank enough? Kyria met with three women (Carla Barnhill, from Minnesota; Tricia Goyer, from Arkansas; and Caryn Rivadeneira, from Illinois) to find out how they practice hospitality and what it really means to them—in the midst of homes that will never be on the cover of Better Home and Gardens.
How would you describe your house right now? Is it company ready?
Carla Barnhill: Oh no, no. As soon as you step onto our front porch you'll see three big duffle bags of soccer gear and a seat from our van. Then when you enter the house, there's a big pile of shoes. It gets no better when you keep moving. I've started to feel like maybe it's appropriate to keep it like this, because then it sets your expectation so you don't walk in thinking you're going anywhere else.
Tricia Goyer: It depends on which rooms they go into. Some of them are company ready. I keep a main area clean, and then they all have to go straight there.
Caryn Rivadeneira: Mostly I have toys and dog hair everywhere. But if somebody calls and gives me about 15 minutes, I can quickly get the first floor company-ready.
So do you welcome or dread the drop in?
Tricia: There are definitely times when it's just disaster. Because I work at home, I may still be in my pajamas at 11 o'clock. And it's like, Oh please, let that only be the UPS man and not a friend who wants to come over.
But also I've learned that it's okay. If I'm comfortable with it, if I'm like, "Oh, come on in, the house is a mess," most people aren't going to look at me and think, Oh my gosh, look at how she's dressed or Look at her house. If I'm at peace with it, then it puts other people at peace too.
Carla: I'm a big fan of the drop in. Sure my house could always be cleaner, but if I spend the whole time shuffling and moving things around and neither of us can relax, it creates an inhospitable environment for both of us.
For me, hospitality is about the relationship and not about the beautiful scones that I baked this morning and the fresh made coffee and the big, fluffy couch. I feel like the hospitality part is who I am and who they are and the conversation and relationship we have.
So for me the drop in isn't a stressful situation, unless I decide to make it that way. I've chosen not to make it that way anymore, because there's no point. Then I miss out on this visit with a friend who popped over. Sometimes I feel bad that I don't have decent food to offer them. I've got a cold Diet Coke and some chips and salsa. That's the best I can do.