Food is one of my love languages (sorry Gary, I think you missed one…). I love the idea of opening my home to others, welcoming them in with warmth and wafts of goodness baking in the oven. My heart is in everything I cook and bake, especially when I do it for others to enjoy. But, for someone who expresses love through food, I’m not that great about inviting people to break bread with me.
Little pieces of me go into the food I make like another item on the ingredient list. Whether it’s a simple sandwich or a chocolate souffle, I offer myself along with the food I serve. Maybe that’s why I am tentative to ask others to partake. An invitation to dinner is an invitation into my home and my heart.
What if she doesn’t like mushrooms? What if he prefers corn tortillas? What if my popovers don’t pop? What if I don’t have the table set when they arrive?
The “what ifs” are endless as I consider making an invitation. Since those little pieces of me are in the food, cooking leaves me exposed. I worry because inevitably guests will see my imperfections. If I was able to share a meal with someone without one detail, however small, being off, I would not have been fully present. My efforts would have been more focused on the food instead of the friendships. I am hesitant because their response to my home and food is actually acceptance or rejection of me as a person. An invitation to dinner is an invitation into my brokenness and vulnerability.
Vulnerability is a key part of community and community comes most naturally to me around the table. I value both highly and have realized that neither of them happen automatically. Vulnerability requires humility and community requires openness. What better way to express these two things than by setting my table and inviting people to share a meal. An invitation to dinner is an invitation to share a part of me along with the meal.
Earlier this year I committed to living a more intentional life – in all ways, but especially in regards to developing community. For me, this looks like having company over more often. It’s stepping outside my comfort zone and serving up some vulnerability with a side of green beans. It’s not worrying about the end result but enjoying the messy process of sharing life with people around the table. It’s inviting people into my home so they can taste and see my heart.