We have a friend who falls asleep on our sofa every time he comes over. He sits down and we chat and we snack and we turn on the tv for a game and at some point in the evening, inevitably I look over to find him snoozing with his bare feet resting on the coffee table.
The first time it happened, I was confused. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, choosing to believe he finds us fascinating, and he shows it through some form of pleasure-induced narcolepsy. The second time I felt slightly offended. The third time, my husband stuck peanut m&m’s up our friend’s nose and took photos. I keep these pictures as proof that one’s early thirties are a time of extreme exhaustion from parenting small children, but still an appropriate age for indulging the inner child in all of us.
We’re in our forties now, and after many years of glancing over mid-conversation to find our friend asleep on the sofa, I choose to take it as a compliment. Our home is where he finds rest. We are his place of belonging. He knows he can put his bare feet up, rummage through our kitchen looking for a snack, leave his kids in our care, and fall asleep curled up next to our dog on the sofa.
As a rule, I wig out about before hosting guests. I worry about serving the right food or cleaning the bathrooms or making sure everything is just so before inviting people over. When I feel my inner Martha (of Mary and Martha fame) start to kick in, I remind myself what I really want to offer friends and family who walk through my front door. Do I want to offer a stressed out version of Pinterest perfection, or do I want to offer them rest? Do I want to offer them a host who is breaking down into fits of madness before opening the door, or do I want to offer belonging?
Offering others a place of rest and belonging doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m so grateful I have friends and family who don’t give me the option of holding onto my desire for order, and who refuse to indulge my crazy. They come over and put their feet up. They spill wine and eat the special treat I saved for later. They crush popcorn into my carpets and feed my dog table food when I’m not looking. They fall asleep on the sofa during special occasions. They see my carefully constructed house of cards, and they tap it gently until it topples over. They help me rebuild it into something infinitely better, a home with an open door and a comfy sofa–a place of belonging.
Do you have friends who feel this comfortable in your home or vice versa?
This post is one in an ongoing series I’m writing about belonging. Meet me here weekly-ish for more. Thanks for being here today!