That Space Between Gratitude And Longing


Matt and I hosted my family for Thanksgiving again this year. It was wonderful, and we had such a good day. For the second year in a row, we opted to have a Thanksgiving brunch instead of the standard turkey and dressing dinner. Quite honestly, we all much prefer breakfast and brunch foods to turkey and dressing, so it works out perfectly. This tater tot casserole has become a favorite for us, and this year I made these canned cinnamon rolls with a twist that were absolutely amazing! But enough about food. This isn’t a food blog. 🙂

I’ve come to absolutely LOVE hosting people in our home. I’ve never been one who is naturally gifted in the area of hospitality. In fact, when we first started hosting our Wednesday night church group, I found myself in those first couple of weeks feeling a bit uptight and anxious as people actually sat on my new velvet sofa. 😀 Add several plates of food in our living room to that equation, and I was initially feeling like I had made a mistake in opening up our home to be used for those gatherings.

But it didn’t take long for me to get over that. I very quickly (after about two weeks) realized that the joy of our home actually being used and enjoyed by others far outweighed any potential negatives like food being dropped on the sofa. Sofas can be cleaned, but even if I had to live with a food stained sofa, relationships with other people are so much more important than things. And I love that our home is being used to build those relationships and create fun memories.

I really try to maintain that mindset of gratitude for what we have, and thankfulness that Matt and I can use it for purposes beyond just the two of us. I really hope to do more of that in many more ways in the future. While hospitality isn’t my natural gifting, I’ve come to really enjoy learning how to be more hospitable, and how to be a good hostess. I’ve got a long way to go, I’m sure. But I love that it gets me out of my comfort zone and stretches me in areas where I need to be challenged and grow.

But speaking of challenging me… 😀 . I have to admit that I’ve grown a bit tired of having to do this…

Since Matt and I don’t have a dining room at the moment, I pushed all of the furniture back in the living room and put a folding table (with a tablecloth) and chairs in the middle of the room so we could eat. Once we were finished eating, we moved the table to the side by the windows and used it to put out our finger foods that we snacked on for the rest of the day. (And then it got piled with boxes from deliveries on Friday.) Then I brought in the two recliners from the sitting room…

…and then I brought the TV from our home gym into the living room and set it up on the mantel.

So my pretty little living room that generally looks all put together like this…

…turns into this when we host Thanksgiving.

And while it looks quite a bit different when we host our Wednesday evening group (since we don’t need a TV for that), we do have to move furniture around to make room. The sofa gets pushed back against the credenza, just like you see in the photos above. Matt’s recliner gets brought in. The two purple chairs get pushed back. The side table with the lamp by the sofa gets moved out of the room. And then extra chairs (stacking chairs) are brought in.

All of that to say that I try to maintain my attitude of thankfulness for what we have. I want to be content with where we are right now, because at any moment, something could happen to completely derail our plans for adding on to our house. And if that were to happen, I don’t want to be devastated. I don’t want to put so much hope into things that I would let my joy of hosting and being with people be stolen because I have to go on indefinitely being a little bit inconvenienced each time we host people in our home.

At the same time, I find myself longing for that addition that would allow us to have a permanent dining room, a much larger living room, way more room for more people, and a much larger bedroom (with very safe and convenient egress in case of emergency) for us.

It’s challenging living in this in between space — the space between gratitude for what we have and longing for more and better. And sometimes I feel guilty when I find myself longing for more and better when we’ve been so blessed and have been given so much as is.

So where are we on the addition? Waiting. We’re still waiting. When I met with the architect a couple of months ago, I knew I’d have to get at the end of the line just like everyone else, and it could be a bit of a wait. I think he’s finally working on our plans, so it could still be a couple of weeks before they’re finished. So…we wait.

And then after that? We’ll probably have to get at the end of more lines and do a whole lot more waiting. And that brings me right back to gratitude and contentment…and patience. I’m trying! I really am. 😀 But some days are more difficult than others in that area. In the meantime, I’ll continue to find joy in hosting people in our home, sharing our home with others, seeing people sit on our sofa with plates filled with food, and pushing furniture around as needed to make room for people.

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