“That’s not something I’d ever think you’d do—I put it one tier above hitchhiking.” -someone after finding out we were hosting a couch surfer.
Before we got married, the hubby and I talked about what kind of qualities we wanted in our household. At the heart of it, we wanted a welcoming home. We wanted to be able to open it up without hesitation to those we loved, those in need and anyone else really. No matter what we had to offer, even if it was little, we wanted to be available to offer such a home. We strongly desire to love people which starts by being willing, open and transparent with others, regardless of their background or beliefs.
Sometimes though I get caught up in what the house “should” look like. My impulse reaction is to say “our house is too messy!” as soon as it’s suggested. Growing up, having someone over required hours of deep cleaning to make it adequately presentable, not because we lived in total disarray but because there was a certain image we were to uphold. As much as I try to escape that mentality, it still gets me sometimes. But the reality is, people live here. We have dirty dishes on the counter, an ongoing pile of laundry to fold and bills strewn about the kitchen table. Of course we want people to be comfortable and welcomed, but we also don’t want to be a slave to the upkeep of an image of perfection. We aren’t perfect people and don’t have an immaculate house. But that shouldn’t get in the way of sharing our homes with people, just as our personal flaws and imperfections shouldn’t stop us from sharing our lives with people.
A few weeks back, I mentioned we hosted our first official couch surfer. In all reality, we’d had couch surfing experiences before (on both sides of the couch) without an official membership. If you don’t know, it’s a website where you can post that you are either hosting or traveling in order to match people up for a free night’s stay in local homes all over the world. When we moved into this house, I knew I wanted to officially open the doors in that way and was so glad we did.
Ultimately, we learned more about someone else’s life and were able to be hospitable and give what we had. There was something awkward about not knowing what to say or do when someone you’d never met was staying in your house. But there was also something powerful about being mildly uncomfortable in order to show love and learn about someone else’s perspective and experiences.