For years I had a little quote in a frame in my living room. It read, “If you came to see me, come on in! If you came to see my house, make an appointment.” For me, it is a great summary of my daily reality. I love people and I enjoy having them over, but time after time, I put it off because my house isn’t clean enough, my cooking isn’t good enough, the menu isn’t special enough, etc., etc.
I recently decided it was time to put all that aside. We have started to invite young adults to dinner each Tuesday night. It was inspired by discovering the needs of one, and realizing that she is not alone. These are sweet, responsible, great young people, most of whom are college graduates who are simply having trouble making ends meet. Some are single, some are married. Overwhelming student loans, low paying jobs or adjusting to getting paid once a month are just a few of the scenarios. I know I can’t do much, but I figured a good meal once a week would help.
So, last Sunday, our older daughter moved back in. It is a very temporary situation, as she and our other daughter just found an adorable rental house and are moving in together October 1. The only problem was, she had to be out of her apartment by September 9. Long story short, because it is such a temporary arrangement, her ‘stuff’ is everywhere! We were able to contain much of it to one bedroom upstairs that, thankfully, no one will see in the next two weeks. There is also some in a shed in our back yard. However, there is also a pile in the corner behind our front door.
Truth be told, I was stressing about that pile when I thought of our Tuesday night company this week. What I discovered was this… they didn’t even see the pile until they were leaving for the evening (thus now facing that direction!) and when they did, they didn’t care! I made apologies and explanations and they still didn’t care. After all, they hadn’t come to see my house. They had come to see each other, to be fed, to be encouraged and as it turned out this last week, to laugh hysterically together.
The benefits had outweighed the mess! In fact, did I also mention that our air conditioner broke that day? Yep, it was 95 degrees outside and 80-85 degrees in our house. I apologized multiple times and kept refilling their waters! They sat around, long after dessert was over and continued to talk and laugh together. I couldn’t believe it.
It is a good lesson to me. So many times, it seems to me, the messy parts of my life outweigh the more tidy areas. Of course, we all have messy rooms, or parts of our lives that we don’t allow others to see. But Tuesday night helped me see what happens when our piles are sitting right there for all to see. Nothing. All of the kids assured me that it was no big deal. None of them left when they found out the air conditioning wasn’t working. They all left grateful and happy and ready to come back next Tuesday night. Which is a good thing, because although the air conditioner is now working, the piles will still be there.
This week, I encourage you to reach out to someone else, no matter how cluttered or chaotic your own life may seem. I can tell you from experience, the benefits far outweigh the mess!
Stepping Over Piles With You,