I closed the car door with a “bang”.  I started up the walk.  I was tired, and my bags were heavy.  My head throbbed from information overload, but I knew I only had to make it a few more steps.  I was finally:  Home.  Standing on the red Ikea welcome mat- I didn’t bother to wipe my feet. I just wanted to go IN.  I started to dig for my keys.  I heard shuffling and barking on the other side of the door.  Before I could unlock it,  it burst open. 

“MOMMY! You’re home, I missed you!”  I was met with kisses- both doggy and boy-type.  I took a deep breath.  I smelled teenager tennis shoes, ( the boy-pourri always near my front door)  left over macaroni and cheese left out on the stove top, recently wet dog  and undertones of lavander and vanilla.  The smell of my home.  Messy- stinky-real and beloved.

I dropped my bags and hugged all who greeted me.   I ignored the mess on the counter (ok, I mostly ignored it, with a side order of being irritated by it.)  and  I went upstairs to strip off all the confining “professional” (I use the word loosely) clothes.  I stepped into my stretched-beyond-their-elastic’s-lifespan- ( and perfectly comfy) grey velour sweats and a tank top that doubles as chest-container.  No need to care about appearance here— I was HOME. My family has seen the good the bad and the ugly- tonight was about the ugly.  They could handle it.

I went downstairs and plopped my tired self  into the corner of the couch that has been mine for as long as I can remember.  It was an automatic relaxation response, my body melted into the comfort of home.

Home. It’s an amazing place. 

Home isn’t about a building.  It’s not about a place.  It’s a feeling.  A place to belong.  A place to BE.   A place where the outside accoutrements can be stripped away.  Home is a place to be welcomed,  regardless of your appearance- or it’s own.  Home is a place where the door is flung open before you can even find your keys at the bottom of your purse.

Home may be messy, it may be boy-pourri scented, but it calls to me.  Does it call to you? Honestly- I wsh I never had to leave.. I wish I could take it with me everywhere.

Thinking back to that tired night.. I wonder what would happen if we DID take it everywhere.  What if we each became places of home for others- where ever we find ourselves.

What if we BECAME homes with mats of welcome instead of mats for people to clean off their feet before entering?    What if we welcomed others into our hearts and lives and loved them as our own?  What if we allowed them to strip off their own “professional” clothes get comfortable? 

Sure- things may get messy and smelly- because homes always do.. but you know– being able to share the gift of home, and take it with us where-ever we go?  It just might be worth it.

Maybe that’s what practicing hospitality means— what do you think?  I’d love to hear…

Roman’s 12:9-16

 9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.