My husband called me at about 6:40 pm. “Is it okay if my small group meets at our house tonight?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said. “What time?”
“Seven,” he said. I realized that “is it okay?” means “I’ve already invited them to…”
There was a day this would have unhinged me. But today, it did not. For one thing, this same husband had cleaned up the kitchen this morning before leaving for work. And my kids are on vacation this week, which means the house stays cleaner longer. I’m also really grateful that my husband is in a men’s group.
But even when they’re here, my kids, now teens, do not wreak havoc in the house the way they did when they were younger. Back then, they seemed to spew a trail of Lego’s, dress-up clothes, story books and general mess everywhere they went. Now, most of their clutter is contained to their rooms, and they actually help clean the rest of the house, when they are here.
So in the 15 minutes I had before the guys arrived, I picked up the newspapers that have accumulated, threw the pile of shoes and assorted junk in the front hall into the closet, and lit a candle. If you can’t clean, at least make it smell good is my philosophy.
Besides my kids getting older (and taking vacations without me) the other thing that’s changed is my attitude. Scot and I see our home as a place where we can welcome people, where we can engage in the spiritual practice of hospitality–which does not require a perfect house but does require a willing heart. We see this house as God’s, and ourselves as stewards of it. What once would have infuritated me now brings me joy, because it feels like a team effort to demonstrate the love of God. It’s moved from a “have to” to a “get to,” from obligation to privilege.
Sorry to say I would still probably panic! I would love to not be in that situation but I haven’t yet managed to get my husband on board with “helping” around the house. I have learned to lower my standards a bit and entertaining on short notice is not as bad as it used to be. I try to remember i can usually get things presentable in less than an hour! Summer is easy because the back porch is always in a welcoming state.