I am waiting for a batch of cookies to come out of the oven. I am also waiting for my parents to arrive. They are coming for a two week visit. They live across the country. We get to see them once or twice a year. I am so excited they are coming! It used to be that I would get really stressed when I had company coming. I don’t any more. I have learned the secret of hospitality.
A year or two ago I heard a speaker talk about hospitality. In my mind, I was not a good entertainer so I was excited about what I would hear and learn. What I heard was so basic that it was stunning. It was such a simple thought it amazed me that I hadn’t gotten it before. The secret of good hospitality is to focus on your guests.
What I figured out was that though I thought I had been focusing on my guests, I had been focused on myself. I was trying to make my house and my entertainment (food or what-not) be the best it could be. I wanted my house spotless (‘so they could relax’). I wanted to have the best meals I knew how to cook prepared (‘so they would love the food’). As a result, I was always stressed. The house was never spotless. I was desperately trying to do all of those little things right until they walked in the door.
Focusing on my guests has changed everything. I do not get stressed. I am excited about my company. The cleanest rooms in my house are my guest rooms and my guest bathroom. I made sure they have what they need – things like fresh soap, washcloths, and hangers in their closet. I provided the conveniences that in the past I always forgot. I am not concerned that I have a load of laundry in my room to fold. I am not worried about the pile of papers beside my bed (and I am not going to put them under the bed!). I am not embarrassed that my kids rooms look lived in. I am anticipating the smile on my dad’s face when he gets to eat one of his favorite cookies. I am thinking about how good the house smells. And, I am certainly going to meet them at the door as soon as they get here!