If you ask me what my gifts/talents are, up until a few weeks ago I would have ranked “hospitality” high on the list. I have become increasingly introverted in the last few years, but one of the things I still very much enjoy is having people in my house and playing hostess. I love to put food out for people, and make up a bedroom. I even like to clean bathrooms and behind bookshelves to help my guests be comfortable. But I think beyond all the busy-work that goes into having guests over, I liked to think I had a natural ability to have people be comfortable and relaxed in my home.
So what’s the problem? Well, recently I’ve interacted with people who I see REALLY have the gift of hospitality. I’ve walked into their immaculately decorated homes and all of a sudden my wimpy attempts at interior decoration feel amateurish. I’ve looked at the spread on their tables and felt like my meals were so elementary. Normally I would have said, well, they’ve spent all this time, money and effort, and guests in their homes are still stiff and uncomfortable, but that’s not been the case. I’ve witnessed groups of strangers come together in easy conversation and fun games. It has been evident that everyone was having a good time. And I’m very clear in my mind that I couldn’t recreate what the hostesses had done.
So, the question for me has become– do I really have the gift of hospitality or have I been playing at it this whole time? Have I simply been comparing myself to people who didn’t have this gift, so I thought I did? Can you have a gift and still need to work at upping your game?
I don’t have any real answers to these questions but we had a house guest the other week. Honestly, I think my preoccupation with comparing myself to others deflated me a bit and I didn’t put all the usual flairs into hosting this time around. I was also stressed at work and generally tired, so I did the minimum to make sure our guest was sheltered, fed, and sent on his way. I was really surprised when he called my husband after he got back home to thank us for hosting and he specifically said to tell me that I have a real gift for hospitality!
My first reaction was to smirk and say I didn’t know where he’d been staying… but then it brought up another question: isn’t the mark of being gifted in something that people are blessed by it even if you don’t put much effort into it; that it just comes naturally to you?
I guess all I’m saying is that I want to have the gift of hospitality; I am jealous (but not in a defeatist way anymore) of people who are even more hospitable than me, and I really want people to feel refreshed and cared about/for when they come into our home.
Any thoughts any of you have about the questions I’ve been struggling with are very welcome!