We have friends staying with us from Zambia. And that feels amazing, mostly because we love our friends Jacob and Libby, and they’re here sharing our patio instead of passing through our Facebook feed from across the globe. But there are other reasons it feels good, too. I feel my imagination stretch as we chat about daily life, and I envision the downpour of rainy season and the bustle of Zambian traffic, packed with minibuses and pedestrians and bikes.
Also, it’s been a few years since we’ve had a home that comfortably houses guests. Most of our homes in this city have been either small or under renovation. We’ve missed our life in Montgomery, where a young church intern lived in our upstairs, and the downstairs guest room rotated occupation between visiting friends, family, and missionaries we’d sometimes never met.
Back then, our house was always full. I used to call my mama and complain about the number of events I had to clean up for each week: Sunday night small group, a dinner party on the weekend, a prayer meeting on a weeknight, the occasional baby shower. But maybe a part of me was calling my mama to brag; our home overflowed with friends.
I’ve thought a lot lately about hospitality. We don’t open our home much these days because we’re in a rental that looks like the Brady Bunch set. But it has a spacious bricked patio and an open kitchen. By worldwide standards, our dated home is lavish. I picture the huts Jacob and Libby visit in Zambia, where there’s no electricity or clean water, and I know we’re squandering the gift of a home that God gave us to share.
I spent the first twenty-four hours of Jacob and Libby’s visit this week fussing over the temperature of the guest bedroom and obsessing over shower quality. Finally, Libby looked me in the eye and said, “Rachel. We live in Africa.” Point taken. Only, it took the exact statement from Jacob an hour later to shut me up.
So I’m thankful to have friends in our imperfect home. I have to start somewhere. Besides, no friends will be clucking their tongues at our absent rug or unflattering interior paint. To have a house full of friends again? That makes this Brady Bunch hut of ours into a home.