From The Hobbit, as 13 unexpected dinner guests arrive at Bilbo Baggins’s house and make themselves quite at home:
“He liked visitors, but he liked to know them before they arrived, and he preferred to ask them himself. He had a horrible thought that the cakes might run short, and that he-as the host: he knew his duty and stuck to it however painful–he might have to go without…
[he] was beginning to wonder whether a most wretched adventure had not come right into his house…’Confusticate and bebother these dwarves!’ he said aloud. ‘Why don’t they come lend a hand?'”
And so it is: hospitality is a bit like an adventure.
When you open your home and life to others, there’s no guarantee it won’t be messy and uncomfortable or that dishes won’t be broken.
And as expectations fail to be met, hospitality may even bring out less than pleasant parts of your own heart.
Yet, ultimately, it’s far better to live in the messiness of real community than alone with your doilies and a belly full of cake.
Don’t you think?