June 16, 2014

You bring the watermelon!

I did not coin the phrase "scruffy hospitality." I'm not sure who did. But I randomly ran across this post last week. I don't know anything about the author of the blog or anything else he writes about.

I just loved that phrase: scruffy hospitality

We live in a culture of surface-level perfection. Where images from Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Pinterest have silently coerced many us into thinking that if our homes don't look like they came straight off the pages of a catalog, we dare not let anyone see or they'll realize we're actually human. That we don't keep our reading material (which happens to all be bound with coordinating-colored covers) neatly stacked in largest-to-smallest order next to a vase of beautifully scented flowers (picked from our perfectly manicured garden) on our newly 'upcycled' end table (freshly painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint).

I grew up in a rural farming community. It was a lifestyle that's foreign to the majority of people my age - everyone learned how to work hard, drive when they turned 12, make calls using a rotary phone and came in for tea break at 3pm. People used to just stop by our house - to deliver a message, a package or just to say hello. Maybe it was because we didn't have the convenience of cell phones and it was just easier to stop if you were out and about. We did the same thing to other people. And there was always a glass of something cold, or some tea, or a snack waiting. Everyone was welcome, and we'd stop what we were doing just to visit. We practiced scruffy hospitality. We built relationships.

When was the last time you invited someone in, spur-of-the-moment, just to chat?

Instead we decide our house is too messy, our space is too small or our food isn't good enough. And we miss the opportunity for good conversation, new friends and deep relationships.

Our house is far from perfect. If you would have stopped by tonight you would have seen this greeting you in our lovely foyer:

And this soaking wet child in our backyard or screaming while running wildly through the house:

You may have also noticed the dead bird on the driveway, the weeds in our landscaping or the two-months-worth of collective dust on our shelves. Would that stop you from sharing a cup of coffee, pizza, or s'mores over a backyard fire with us?

What if we quit making hospitality about us and our house and our food and started making it about others and how we can be a blessing to them? What if instead of reading blogs about how to cook the perfect meal or pinning tablescapes on Pinterest, we just had another family over for brats and asked them to bring the watermelon?

Our crazy, fast-paced culture needs a little more "scruffy hospitality."
More friendships and less perfection.
More conversation and less cleaning.
More relationships and less planning.

Who can you be a blessing to? Ask if they can bring the watermelon ;)