Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Unexpected Visits, Are They Always a Bad Thing?

Yesterday I was at home and using the computer to blog and read some blogs in the late morning hours, when there was a knock at my front door.  It was a good friend of mine, stopping in unexpectedly to visit with me! We hadn't seen each other in a month, which is sad but her life has been as full as mine if not more so.  And she was so tickled to stop in and see me!

Now, typically, I am not one for unexpected visits so much as planned visits.  However, I decided years ag, that putting my pride about how my house or my person looks at the moment someone stops in can be a good thing -- especially because to me, hospitality really matters.  To me, a truly hospitable person is ready and willing to open their home to others at any time.  Do I mean the house needs to be in perfect order every single moment of every single day for this to happen?  Ideally, yes.  Realistically, no.  I will be the first to say I am still "learning" how to be a good homemaker on a consistent basis.  I think I do very well in some areas and acceptable in others.  There is always, always room to improve.  But I thought, while I am in this perpetual refining process, who am I to turn away friends or family from my doorstep, because there's laundry to be folded on my couch or a few pots in the sink to be washed or towels draped over the shower door waiting for attention?  Who am I to turn away someone who may desperately need to be ministered to through friendship and undivided attention, simply because I forgot to make the guest bed this morning with freshly washed sheets or didn't get all the newly purchased canned goods put up yet?

I realize there are many who would disagree with me in this eccentric philosophy of mine.  That's just fine. To each his own.  But for me, I feel like my house can be an extension of who I am and the capacity I have to minister to the needs of others . . . .and even more importantly, I feel like my house isn't my house alone . . . it belongs to the One who gave it to me so that I could be the steward over it.  And I could be wrong, but when I start to think about how Jesus would or wouldn't accept company into this house, I cannot help but think that all the other things -- dishes, laundry, towels, floors, food, dry goods, dusting, etc. -- wouldn't matter so much to Him.  I rather think that if someone knocked on the door of this house, Jesus would come to them with open arms, He would swing the front door wide and tell them, "Come in! Come in to my house!" and all the little things would be overlooked as the guests basked in the undivided attention and welcoming love of Jesus. On the flip side, I would hope that if Jesus appeared in the form of man at my front door one day, unexpectedly, that I wouldn't hesitate to let Him in, no matter the present condition of my house.  I sincerely think that the prospect of time spent in His presence and with His undivided attention, in person, would mean so much to me it would completely overshadow any little messes or clutter around here.  Is this off the mark?  Maybe so.  But I'd rather err on the side of hospitality and devoted friendship toward those who choose to knock on my door, than on the side of keeping to myself entirely based upon the perfection of my house.  Maybe that's just me.  But that's how I feel. . . .

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me ."   -- Words of Jesus, Revelations 3:20


  1. That's a thoughtful take on this situation. While I think there is still room to improve in how our house looks, I think on the whole, it really isn't all that bad. There is some clutter here and there, but no filth. I think that there are a lot of people who have the mentality that if there house isn't looking spotless, tidy, and perfect, that they can't entertain company. If a person comes over unexpectedly and their house isn't in order, they will likely feel embarrassed, and may possibly even feel angry at the guest for not giving notice.

    Personal, I think that so long as a person isn't constantly coming over unannounced, that the occasional drop-in isn't so bad, especially when it is a good friend. If they are a good friend, they also aren't likely to care as much if your house isn't looking spotless.

    I think that people have also lost sight that houses are lived in. They are not museums. A house should be a home, a place you feel comfortable and a place you are able to rest.

    Like you said as well, what if a person needed encouragement, or help, or comfort, or ministering, and you turned them away simply because you had house chores to keep up with. THat sounds fairly similar to the story in the Bible when Jesus came over to Mary and Martha's house. Martha was all flustered because, "there was just so much she had to do". Mary knew many things could be done later, and were not nearly as important as the person that came to visit (especically since in this case it was Jesus!).

  2. You ask, Are they *Always* a Bad Thing?.... I would say, 'Are they *ever* a bad thing?'. I am so glad to live in a place where unplanned visits far outweigh the planned ones. Yes, things are changing here too, compared with the way they were when I was growing up, but I wouldn't dream of not popping in to see a friend if I had a free couple of minutes in a day.
    I say enjoy every minute you can spend in the company of friends, and don't worry about the pots and pans in the sink.... they'll still be there when you're talking is over :)

  3. @Joe: Great points you made! I think many folks in our society have lost sight that the house is supposed to be the home, not just another building. Not to make it seem that I think cleanliness and order are bad in the least! However, there is much to be said for feeling "at home" when you're "in your home." :)

    @Homeschool on the Croft: Thanks for the comment! I loved what you said in the first couple sentences! haha So true, too, about the pots and pans in the sink . . . sadly, they are amongst the things we can count on, much like taxes and death! Lol ;)