I've waited years for everything to be just right. When I have a place of my (now our) own, when I have just the right table and plates and seating area, when I have the time, when I hone my cooking skills, and when I have the friends, then I can practice hospitality. Now that I have all of these things (although my cooking skills remain questionable), I realize how none of them are necessary. You don't need to have your own place (although it helps!), you don't need a whole lot of time (when you keep it simple), and you don't need to have Julia Child's cooking skills (can you say, potluck?). Because none of those things are what hospitality is really about.

I recently stumbled on this quote:
Entertaining says, “I want to impress you with my beautiful home, my clever decorating and my gourmet cooking.” Hospitality says, “This is not mine. It is a gift from God, and I’ll use it as he desires.” (Still Living By Faith, Annie May Lewis)

More like Mary and Martha, less like Martha Stewart. I guess all those years I've been assuming that I had to do it Martha Stewart style, all or nothing. People were either going to see my house in order, or not at all. One thing that I do know now is that the 'fussier' you make it, the less inclined you will be to make it a regular habit. I want to learn to think of hospitality as an extension of my regular life. To make food I already know how to cook and enjoy eating. This is not the time to try out that roast duck recipe from Julia Child (I assume this exists?), or to create that perfect tablescape that I saw on Pinterest the other day. Not that those things are bad, but sometimes perfectionism creeps up on me and I get so worked up about all my plans not being 'right' that I end up being convinced in my own mind that the evening is a disaster because that picture wasn't hung, or because I overproofed that new bread recipe and it fell flat.

A "wish I had known then what I know now" lesson for my former-self: Don't wait for the perfect time to be hospitable instead of just using what you've been given at this time. Less is more. I may not know how much I missed out on then, but I don't want to miss out on anything now.

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