My wife and I love hosting. We agreed before we got married that opening our home to guests would always be a characteristic of our household. Whether we are hosting summer cookouts, holiday parties, or having out of town friends or family come and stay a night, we truly love to experience good food and great community.
Preparation and anticipation of the event is always wonderfully exciting. My wife always frets over having enough food, I tend to make last minute runs to the store. We grill in the summer and pull out the fancy wine glasses in the winter. The aroma of the spices and the happy sounds of food preparation fills the air. Music plays in the background as we prepare for our guests, and we engage in idle chit chat. Even the simple things like taking dishes out of the way, refilling glasses, taking coats, etc., all bring some amount of joy to me. It’s strange perhaps, but it’s a way that I have found to express care and indeed love for our friends.
But, the best part of our gatherings are those first moments when the guests arrive. When they step through the door bringing their own dishes to share, I feel a surge of excitement and anticipation of the fun that is to be had. This feeling of excitement hearkens back to my days as a small child when the anticipation and arrival of guests would overwhelm me with joy.
It’s a moment when I unconsciously stop to “take it all in”. I look at the people in front of me and absorb the raucous laughter, the conversations, the smell of the food and the smiles. I sort of log it away into my memory to recall at a later date. More than once, my wife and I have gone back and related funny stories of past parties to each other. When the party has ended and the house is empty, my wife and I feel exhausted but full of the love of our friends. The mess that is left over is hardly ever a burden because it reminds us of who was there and what they were saying or doing.
These get-togethers help facilitate connection with my wife. I’ve found that enjoying the company of others and nurturing relationships motivates us to do the same with each other. Hosting our friends and family is a way that my wife and I have chosen to positively take action against a world that in my experience tries to diminish wholesome friendships. Whenever she or I feel down in the dumps, hosting or going to a party always lifts our moods. Being around our friends reminds us of who we are and gives us “strength for the journey”.
We have chosen to make it a point to intentionally build friendships with others, and these experiences have deeply enriched our lives. I believe in love because I believe love in the form of community is key to building strong roots to draw from in our lives. If we have deeper roots, then I know Jenn and I are able to withstand more of the struggles from our culture. We both have experienced our world attempting to tear apart our friendships and diminish our values. Our answer to that is to build a foundation of friends. No matter how much our past and present experiences weigh us down and lead us to question our very core beliefs, these special times with friends reminds us of who we are and who we are choosing to be. I believe in love because I know love dwells among groups of good friends.