How to welcome others into your home and your heart . . .

Think back to a favorite memory of visiting a friend in their home. What did you enjoy most?

Perhaps you sat around the dinner table laughing and telling stories long after dessert. Or you lingered in the driveway, enjoying that last bit of connectedness. There’s nothing like sharing an evening and sharing your lives.  

I remember a recent evening I spent with friends in their backyard. Not minding the time, our conversation lasted long after dinner. We sat in silhouette to the dramatic pink and orange and purple sunset until the world turned to navy and the fireflies came out. We knew we were witnessing magic.

We also knew we were tasting that special ingredient that adds meaning to life.

I could tell you so many things about that evening—about my friend’s listening ear, our laughter over our latest goofiness and of course, our promise—“we’ve got to do this more often.”

But of all the sweet things I remember, there are a few things I don’t recall.

I don’t remember what we ate . . . except that it was thoughtfully prepared and presented. I don’t remember if their lawn was manicured or their silverware polished. I don’t remember if their furniture matched.

All I remember is that I felt welcome, that I was loved, and that I can’t wait for the next time.

So I ask you, why do we wait so long to have these special evenings? Why don’t we invite people over to our homes more often?

I think I can speak for other singles when I confess that I postpone invitations to friends because of one crazy insecurity: I’m afraid that what I offer them doesn’t quite measure up. I’m afraid that my cuisine won’t be gourmet, or that my décor doesn’t resemble a catalog. And they would know for sure that “the maid” hasn’t been around for a while.

Too often I withhold the welcome mat—postponing those special evenings for a more perfect day. Sad, but true.

Even sadder is the notion that singles sometimes feel that one person alone in a house does not constitute a home. That’s simply not true.

“Home” is not postponed till there are two . . . or three or more. Home is simply where you are most yourself; it’s your place to pull up a pillow and rest. It’s your place of individuality and expression. It’s where you are safe enough to welcome others in.  

How to Make Yourself a Home

Build your nest . . . today. Don’t postpone creating a home until that “magic season” in your life. If for no other reason, you need a place to belong. Use the fancy tablecloth before it yellows, the Tupperware before it gets sticky, and the sculpted candles before they melt.  Saving special things in a hope chest is for the birds.

I paused at a quote I saw recently on Pinterest: “Out of the dreariness, into its cheeriness, come we in weariness … home.” We need to create this kind of haven for ourselves.

We also need to make our homes into this kind of haven for others.

Offer a retreat for your special people. From the moment you greet your guests at the door, create a no-judgment zone. You of them—them of you. You won’t need to post the rule—they’ll see it in your smile.

The truth is, your guests don’t care about your cuisine, the dust on the top of the refrigerator, or your décor —so, pull up a crate. Or a pillow. Or some floor. They haven’t come to be impressed. They’ve come to be heard. To be nurtured. They’ve come to feel like they belong in someone’s guest book. Don’t deny them the chance to be loved for the sake of a coordinated sofa and loveseat.