I’m sure we all have ideals when it comes to hospitality. I know I can’t be the only one who imagines her house decorated like something out of Southern Living. With the table laid with matching dishes when guest arrive and the appetizers coming out of the oven at the exact right time while we have easy conversation and pour beautifully mixed drinks from the etsy-esque side bar. Then the buzzer goes off and everything is done at the same time and we all retire to the dining room together and I bring in the food and remove my adorable, spotless, apron to applause cause the meal is so beautiful and we all sit down to talk about our perfect lives.

Right?! Am I the only one?!

Cause instead my house is currently devoid of furniture and makes me not want to have people over, my oven isn’t working cause it’s stuck in clean mode. I read recipes and get a big head thinking I can do three new ones at a time when really I should do one and just serve it with a pre mixed salad and see how it turns out, especially as I can’t afford all the ingredients for three fancy recipes for one dinner party. I over plan for food and people turn up late cause they have jobs and there is traffic and we don’t all look like we walked off the set of a movie- heaven forbid. And instead of seamless conversation sometimes it’s stilted or disjointed cause we aren’t working off of a script and you have to cover sad topics like broken families and disappointments cause real life sucks sometimes and that is why you have friends. And then one food item is done while the other is still somewhat raw and the salad never showed up cause the friend who was going to bring it got sick and couldn’t make it. When you finally do call everyone to the table half of them are missing when you make the big food reveal as they are washing their hands or had to take a call and you take off your dirty sweater cause you forgot an apron and got food all over yourself and only then do you remember that you forgot a bra and that you had appetizers in the fridge.

Expectations for perfection can ruin all sorts of good times.

Marriage won’t be perfect but I hear it has it’s bonuses. Friendship can be messy but it makes life a lot easier when you have people you can count on. Churches and the people who make them up can be disappointing but they are also a place where occasionally you meet Jesus in each other. Hostessing, I am learning, is not so much about getting it just right and more about continuing to try.

I have found people are much less worried about matching dishes and everything being on time than I am. I have found that friends are very patient when it comes to you feeding them. And I have found that if I just let the little things go and focus on bringing people together I will have a much better time myself.

I have not perfected this. I struggle a lot with real life not matching up with my picture perfect ideal. I’m working on it though and continue to try.

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