Throw Open the Door: Sneak Preview From Shauna Niequist’s “Bread & Wine”
This week I’m expecting a house guest, and I’ll be honest, I’m nervous. She’s from out of state, across the country, and while we’ve spent a great deal of time conversing over email, I really don’t know her. We met through our mutual love of words, and writing, and Jesus. We met…online! Which is so strange and modern and mysterious, really. How could two women from opposite ends of the country found a friendship through…Facebook? Facebook is supposed to be killing friendships, not forging them! What could possibly have orchestrated a kinship so random but…God?
But the bottom line remains. Christi McGuire, writer, speaker, and girl-mom, from Sarasota, Florida, doesn’t really know me. She’s never met my kids. She’s never seen me without my makeup on. She hasn’t seen me at my best, or my worst. There is no frame of reference for her, yet.
When my friend Susan comes over, I don’t stress as much because she’s been to my house when it was in top notch form, all candlelight and sparkling party-perfection. She’s also come over when there was cereal on the floor where I dropped it, and me, unshowered, injured and vomiting from a migraine. I don’t think it gets much worse than that. So when Susan comes over, and the boys have left dirty socks on the couch and dust bunnies are crawling out from under the buffet in the dining room, well, it’s still an improvement over THAT day.
What will someone who’s never even been to California THINK of me? My house isn’t anything exciting. Our kitchen and bathrooms are original to the house, which means old and a little cracked in spots, and clean grout doesn’t always equal “white” anymore. There’s that spot in the kitchen that I missed when we were painting, and never got around to fixing. And the cat hair. The cat hair that, despite my best efforts and a Roomba, just manages to lay in tufts on the white carpet.(How they shed in clumps is beyond me.) There’s always the detritus of boys – LEGOS and Lincoln Logs and crayons and the ever-present dirty socks EVERYWHERE.
I’ve had the pleasure to receive a preview copy of Shauna Niequist’s newest book Bread & Wine. I’ve long been a Shauna-fan, and I’ve eagerly awaited this new title. I’ll be blogging about it a few times, but for today, the chapter called “Open the Door” addresses the very issue I struggle with so often. I guess I’m not alone.
What [your guests] are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.
It’s easy to talk about it, and really, really hard sometimes to practice it.
This is why the door stays closed for so many of us, literally and figuratively. One friend promises she’ll start having people over when they finally have money to remodel …. But it isn’t about perfection, and it isn’t about performance. You’ll miss the riches moments in life – the sacred moments when we feel God’s grace and presence through the actual faces and hands of the people we love – if you’re too scared to open the door. I know it’s scary, but throw open the door anyway…
And so I will. It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be comfy, and friendly, and we’ll sit up late with a glass of wine and finally talk face to face about life and mothering and writing and it will be one of those sacred moments that could never have happened were it not for the handiwork of an amazing God.
About Shauna Niequist:
Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac. Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life–friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.