When I invite people to come over for a bonfire or dinner, it always comes with an attached issue- getting everyone to help tidy up the house before company comes. You all know what I am talking about- you see things you didn't notice all week that need cleaned, fixed or thrown away. It usually ends up being a great source of anxiety for me, ending in me thinking perfection will not be attained, therefore the visiting friends will never accept an invitation again.
Except for one small issue- no one really cares.
Saturday night we had some friends over for the first time- understand, we are not overly social entertainers. My kitchen isn't huge. There are always dishes in the sink. The TV is always on. There are journals and notebooks in every room of the house. My carpet needs replaced. My bathroom is always a mess from the two golden retreivers who are fed and watered in it. There is always laundry on our bed. We live in our own world here in our old farmhouse. Its called "this is not a museum we actually live in this space".
So I continue to struggle with the whole "how do other people do this" issue.
Then our company arrives, and through our friendship with them, I realize we do not have to be so perfect. There are much bigger things going on than the dog hair under the clawfoot tub in the bathroom. There are lives being entertwined through our childrens activities and our own reaching out. There were much bigger things than my house on the table on Saturday night. The laughter and ridiculousness of our kids making smores in the kitchen ( using a candle- don't ask) was just enough to let our hair down. The funny pictures on our phones of one another was a great sharing moment. The dark cloud of circumstance that hung over each of us as individuals gave way to some relaxation and laughter- alongside some buffalo chicken dip and dinner.
Through all of my frustrations of "entertaining" and all of my anxiety I am glad that my family could offer a bit of refuge in a weekend full of heartache and helplessness.
And I am glad to have made some new friends that can laugh with us when things aren't very funny, and will understand when we need to cry.
Praying for the friends who lost a very special lady this weekend.