Open heart – Open home (part 2)

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I once ran into an old acquaintance from high school who, after some catching up, told me she thought I was a bit of a snob back in the day because I never invited her over. Little did she know the real reason so few of my friends ever crossed the threshold of our troubled home.

I dragged that fear of being exposed and judged into adulthood. To come into my home was to enter into my most private domain..it was as if my entire house was the master bedroom and I was always mildly unsettled about people (adults, not my kids’ friends) being in it. Don’t get me wrong, we had people over..but I was never truly, 100% comfortable.

Maybe that’s why I still marvel at all those couples searching for homes on HGTV. “OH, this will be so great for entertaining friends and family!” they gush.. I used to wonder..are they all exaggerating? Do they really LOVE to “entertain” that much?

I have so often thought of our home as a sanctuary, my personal retreat and safe space in a crazy world. And while there’s nothing wrong with the image, that vision tends not to include people outside my immediate family. It took MANY years for me to embrace the idea that my house could be a private sanctuary AND a welcoming, open home as well.

So what is so special about my new friend’s home that I was immediately filled with a sense of wellness and belonging- a feeling I want MY friends to have when they stop by.

Visually her house is “happy” and bright, her decor is casual and there are homey touches around the rooms: family photos, uplifting quotes, sea shells, a few orchids. Her place is so comfortable, you can genuinely relax. The surroundings are clean, but not spit-shined, which makes me feel better about my own home knowing that it doesn’t need to be ‘hotel-spotless’ before I can invite someone in for a visit. This sweet girl has food and drinks out on the table when you arrive..it’s just there..she tells you to help yourself..and I do. 😉 Last, but not least, she is SO welcoming at her front door as is her adorable Frenchie who snorts and wiggles as if you are his long lost best friend.

But there’s something else going on..

It’s hard to explain, but my friend’s home is less inanimate structure and more like a living, breathing organism. It is a palpable extension of her heart and soul. This girl loves people; her home is her mission field and you can somehow sense it when you are there. It’s not about the furniture, the view or the food although all those things do create a wonderful atmosphere, it is the connection between her heart and her home that makes each visit so special.. When you come into her home you are entering her heart.

Do you have a friend like this?

Does this describe you?

21 Comments Add yours

  1. beth says:

    I love this, and the feel I hope that people have at least a bit of when they enter my tiny house. my stepmother came by for the first time and said, ‘I feel like I’m in a fairy house!” and my sister in law said, “I see you only keep things you truly love.” – I took both as compliments )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cindy says:

      Oh..if someone described my house that way, I’d be THRILLED!!! A few years ago I went very minimalist..which I like..but it can border on strile-hotel-ish which is not what I want..I want my home to hug my visitors..it sure sounds like yours does!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. beth says:

        I hope so

        Liked by 1 person

  2. LA says:

    First off- I’m waiting for a couple on HGTV say that they only want their home for themselves not for entertaining. I’m sort of a home is my safe space person- I don’t like people coming over. As I’ve lived in the city for a long time, and as none of my friends have massive apartments, I rarely go into other peoples home- we usually meet out somewhere- it’s just easier. But when I visit people- No- I feel there is too much artifice in most homes- I would love to just be in a comfortable place

    Like

    1. Cindy says:

      Trust me, I LOVE going out to meet people..but for sure it is different when you meet in their home..it is soo personal and you get to know them on a different, much more intimate, level. I cannot tell you how challenging this was for me..some real messed up tangles I had to comb through. I felt terribly open to judgement until I finally got over it. My parents lived a messed up but incredibly elegant life..could be why I try to incorporate a touch of tacky (or homey) into our place..so you don’t have to be stiff or on guard. —And just imagine hearing a couple on HGTV say we do ZERO entertaining…HA! That’ll be the day. And PS- I was watching a couple fight their way to a choice last night..I’m thinking how are these two a couple? They don’t need a home, they need marriage counseling! I switched to Hoarding.. there was no relief in that show either..and I know, you’re going to tell me I should be reading instead..and I should!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LA says:

        I am sooooo NOT into decorating my home people would probably judge me left and right (as my in laws do) but I need a space to be comfortable in

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cindy says:

        Oh..I bet you have an “LA vibe” going on in there..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sally says:

    Here, in rural NL, before covid, people just used to stop by, without any notice, or knocking. The culture is like this.

    I remember the time I was enjoying my lunch, when a friend tiptoed in, and sat across the table from me. Often people pop by around mealtimes…🤗

    Of course, we are isolated here, and everyone knows each other.
    In a larger centre, for safety reasons, this is not the cultural norm.

    Great post, Cindy. Thanks 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cindy says:

      That sounds so wonderful..natural and almost effortless..although hospitality is truly never an effortless venture.. in fact I’d say it requires a real commitment to live an open heart-open home life. I want my home to be headquarters for my ministry..I really do..esp after the last year.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sally says:

        It is a wonderful thing to share hospitality, and as you say, Cindy, people do not expect perfection, they are just happy for a chance to be in a welcoming environment. ⚘🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cindy says:

        So true.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I am more like you than your friend – I wish! I do love people but like you my home is my sanctuary and I do not open it to people other than family easily. I guess I have fears of being good enough or my furnishings being good enough, I don’t know. Most of my friends are in a much higher tax bracket than we are. I know, I know, all of that shouldn’t matter but it does to me. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy says:

      You know what struck me when I went to this friend’s house was a clear, very clear, feeling that this was her mission’s headquarters. Her kids are grown and out on their own and she has shifted..or re-purposed..her home to be a comfortable gathering place for friends. I wondered to myself..if God would ever say..Cindy, how did you use the home you lived in to reach out to those who needed a friend or a listening ear? I’m afraid I wouldn’t have much to say..I want to get over ALL of the issues that are keeping me from my own mission..and I’ll tell ya right now, outright LAZINESS is one of the big hurdles!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re not alone! Laziness and huge trust issues hold me back too often. I’m good on the phone or on social media but fail to be the kind of person your friend is. What a wonderful example she is. I’d like to be like that, too. I’m working on it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cindy says:

        Interesting that you bring up the internet..because I think it’s playing a huge role in the fading concept of hospitality. And yet- if you watch house hunters..everyone is looking for a “great space to entertain!!” Yeah- sure. 😂

        Like

      3. Perhaps they need a nice backdrop for their zoom meetings or YouTube videos? LOL

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ann Coleman says:

    I try to make my home an open and welcoming place, but I don’t know that I’m entirely successful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy says:

      I have gone through so many phases..I think at first, my husband would be so proud of our home, he’d give people these “behind the scenes tours” that forced me to clean every square inch. Once, I lost track of him..and he had a work associate in our master bathroom..SHOWING HIM HOW LARGE THE CLOSET IN THERE WAS! (You know THAT closet, with personal stuff in there!!) I had to tell him I was instituting a NO MORE TOURS rule. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, I had four kids, a cat and a dog..so hey, a tiny tootsie poop or fossilized hair ball could have escaped my view!! And then..there was my cooking- I mean anything could (and did) happen..so yeah..it used to stress me out. But my friend the other day? She served hoagies from the deli..all cut up into manageable sizes and it was just great. I let go of the need to be perfect because my stress is as transmissible as Covid..and nobody gonna be fooled if my husband and I were arguing 2 seconds before the doorbell rings.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I get that feeling from my house, too, but I suspect it’s just a cloud of cat hair. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy says:

      You’re so funny! Reminds me of when a friend came over years ago and sat in a LR chair and when she got up, her black yoga pants were COVERED in cat hair..I mean COVERED. There I am staring at her rear end..totally mortified.. trying to decide if I should say something or not. Ran into my bathroom, grabbed one of our 40 cat hair rollers, told her about her hairy butt, apologized profusely and offered to roll her buns. She rolled her own.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have four cats so we have most of the colors covered. One breed’s hair is bound to show up regardless of what you wear!

        Liked by 1 person

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