I was listening to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast this morning and on one of the episodes, she interviews the author of The Turquoise Table, Kristin Shell. If you don’t know the book, basically this lady had an idea to buy a $100 picnic table, plop it in her front yard, painted it her favorite color, and built a close knit community in her neighborhood by inviting people over to gather around her table. She used something simple to be available and create relationships with those near.
One of the things that I’ve been wanting to provide is hospitality. But it’s also something I struggle with-opening our home, our safe space up to others.
Growing up, I always remember my parents having an “open door” policy in our home and welcoming anyone over pretty much anytime. We always had family, friends, and even people we didn’t really know that well over. Hey, I met my husband for the first time in my parent’s kitchen! Mom and Dad fed and provided small jobs for a couple of college guys who ended up acting as built in big brothers when I was in high school, we often had pizza (or mom’s okra and fried potatoes) after roping at the arena for whoever wanted some, we were ready for a birthday party, cookout, or gathering of some kind anytime and those people felt more like family than friends.
My childhood was rich in memories of really not doing much other than small talk on the back of a horse or breaking bread with whoever was in our kitchen or back yard. And it was so good. The community was sweet.
In the podcast, something that was said and stuck out to me was that we are the most connected generation (digitally) but also the loneliest. Our kids will never know a time that a screen wasn’t readily available. That breaks my heart but motivates me to be a family that offers a swinging door. Community over isolation in front of social media. I want our kids to know how to communicate, how to serve, how to selflessly offer up their space to build lasting relationships.
It doesn’t take much more than an invite to start a friendship. This is something simple but a lifestyle that I want to implement in our family for years to come. I can’t wait to read this book and come up with simple ways to gather that offer no expectations other than to meet and share our lives. What are some ways you offer up your space?