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Opening Your Home After Covid
Offering a place of light and refreshment
On Thursday, I’ll share highlights from your discussion of viability standards. Thank you for your patience and charity as people have navigated significant disagreements about abortion. I’m proud of the way the Other Feminisms community can speak seriously about injustices while trying to invite in other readers who disagree about who is most at risk.
In many parts of the United States, it’s getting more plausible to have friends over to your home. For many folks, this may be their first time hosting in more than a year. We’ve had a few friends over for dinner, and we’re looking forward to hosting a bigger group soon for a day of playing games written by my husband.
It’s a good time to reflect on what you may want to change about how you welcome others, or, if you’ve felt unequal to hosting in the past, to remember that, at this time, people want more than anything to see you. The bar for your housekeeping, decorating, and cooking is low!
I liked seeing these remarks from Joy Clarkson on twitter:
I appreciate her reminder that being a homemaker isn’t about creating something photogenic and professional. It’s about providing respite.
Respite might look like air-conditioning in the middle of a horrendous heatwave. (Seriously, check in on your friends and see if they need somewhere non-scorching to sleep). It might be cocoa on the stove on a snowy afternoon. It could be coming over to babysit a newborn for an hour while the parents take a nap.
But, as Joy points out, there are other kinds of respite to offer as a contrast to the world outside. Welcoming people into your home might be a chance to invite them into a space of conviviality, big questions, or unembarrassed earnestness.
The home can be place of renewal, but it isn’t a retreat. As I wrote in Building the Benedict Option, my book on building Christian community, we gather with friends to be fed—with food, with beauty, with kindness. And we rely on those moments of respite to strengthen us to share good things with the wider world.
A quiet, earnest moment with a friend may give you the courage to speak up when you hear a demeaning joke. A moment where you are welcomed in your weakness may help you reach out to someone else in need.
What kinds of respite do you most want to receive right now from a friend?
What kinds of respite do you hope to offer this summer?