Scruffy Hospitality

A friend of mine recently shared an article on social media about getting past achieving the perfect before inviting folks over. The term used in the article was "scruffy hospitality" and it struck a chord with me. Those who know me understand I tend to lean toward perfectionism and there was a time in my life when gatherings in my home were always the kind of thing I'd do someday. Once I had the kitchen painted. Once I had a new dining room table. Maybe if I had a big enough set of matching dishes. Every time there was an opportunity to host a little get together, I had a ready-made excuse to make it another time.

But when we reach the ends of our lives, I can't imagine anyone spends time wishing they'd had a nicer set of dishes or the perfect shade on the walls in the kitchen. We all yearn to have a life painted with the rich color that friendship and camaraderie brings. So tossing the dishes in the sink and wandering out to the backyard to break bread with friends sometimes needs to be a thing that doesn't terrify us. Mismatched plates are great at holding the bounty that comes with a potluck brought together by a table surrounded by friends and loved ones. No one remembers the colors on the wall … just that they need to get the recipe for that amazing flatbread and dip you served while everyone got ready to sit down to eat. And who needs a new table when it's covered with dishes from all over the world and the stories shared together that make us laugh, cry, and smile late into the night?

Rarely a week goes by these days in which I don't have at least a couple of friends over to share a meal and make memories. They are almost always potluck gatherings. They have no dress code; in fact, bare feet and T-shirts are pretty common. The dishes don't match, but they are filled with amazing food. Our wine and other beverages are often sipped from empty jelly jars. And we laugh until we cry and no one wonders why my home isn't perfect … because moments like these make it exactly that. So take a deep breath, look past those things that keep you from making those moments, and enjoy the scruffy hospitality that can paint our lives with the rich hues of friendship, sharing, and gratitude.

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