I forgot about our bathroom when I said we should invite some friends over for dinner.
The bathroom hadn’t been cleaned in too long and the hand towel needed to be changed out and there were spots on the mirror and I’m sure there was hair on the floor. I’m slowly getting the house back to a normal level of cleanliness after the constant sleepiness of the first trimester, and I haven’t quite gotten to the deep cleaning of the bathroom.
So we texted friends until we found a few who needed something to do on their Friday night. Then we hustled to the store where we gathered all sorts of yummy toppings for my very favorite to make homemade pizza.
And somewhere knee-deep in the cooking process, I remembered about the bathroom. Because what is worse than inviting guests over for dinner only to expect them to use your messy bathroom?
I planned out my time and didn’t panic, but cooking always takes longer than I seem to think it will. Then the doorbell rang and I was up to my elbows in pizza toppings and hadn’t even changed out the hand towel…
And then I completely forgot about the dirty bathroom, until our last guest was saying goodbye and thanking me for the evening.
My first instinct was to internally panic and then panic to my husband as soon as the door shut behind everyone. But somehow I stopped my panic long enough to listen to what she was saying…
“Thank you so much for inviting me tonight. I almost texted you earlier today, but I was afraid it would be date night…I really enjoyed it.”
And I thought about our little group that evening.
Five of us sat on couches and ate pizza and veggies and ice cream cake and talked seriously and laughed hard and listened intently and all talked over each other for four hours. Each of us in the room had some challenge we were facing, some battle we were fighting. And I think we all just needed to laugh and be together, even if our friendships are sort of new we mostly left the deep conversations for another day.
They left and my extravert’s heart was full and my craving for deep, authentic community was a little more satisfied. And I realized all I would have missed if I’d let a dirty bathroom get in the way of that night.
When you look around at your community, maybe it’s a little mismatched, a little broken, a little new and fresh and hesitant. And maybe your bathroom is dirty or your laundry unfolded or your meal just a frozen pizza, but I want to challenge you that community is always worth it.
It’s worth it to take the time and energy to invest in the new friendships and to bring people together for the first time under your roof. It’s worth it to cook a meal or clean your house or just pick whichever of the two you have time for.
Because the people gathered in our living room last night all helped me in the kitchen at one point or another, since I’m simply not that organized. And the bathroom wasn’t clean, which they probably noticed. And at times the odd combination of newer friendships showed in our conversation, but we all needed the community.
And we all left thankful.
And it wasn’t the homemade meal that any of us were thankful for…it was each other. It was the time together. It was the friendship and the community.
Your home doesn’t have to be perfect to be inviting.
Your food doesn’t have to have a gourmet presentation to foster community.
Your community itself doesn’t have to be deep and rich in order for it to be a blessing…to yourself and to others.
So invite people into the mess.
You, and they, will leave thankful.