Above our family’s front door hangs a plaque that reads, “Happy is the house that shelters a friend”, a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Although the plaque has hung in our home for over a decade now, I still smile every time I read it because Emerson’s words epitomize the blessings we receive when family and friends come to visit. Our family delights in welcoming people into our home and into our lives!
You see, the joy begins with the anticipation of “company’s coming”: the planning, preparations, and excitement of the fellowship to come. It then flourishes throughout the gathering with the sharing of food, laughter, and stories. As our time together comes to a close, we walk our guest out to the driveway, stalling their departure with long goodbyes and maybe just one more story or two. Their car eventually pulls away to a flurry of hand-waving that spans the distance between car and porch. I turn back and notice that our house seems to beam cheerfully, with glowy windows for eyes, as if to beckon our dear ones to hurry back.
Our family walks back into the house, pausing in the foyer to immediately share the highlights of our evening until Joel and I finally send the children off to get ready for bed. Soon we join them in their rooms for bedtime prayers which include thanksgiving for time spent with our company. After prayers we linger a little longer in the girls’ room, sitting on their beds and laughing over funny moments with their friends or cousins.
I return to the kitchen to clear the table and put away leftovers. I honestly never mind the cleanup. The late-night calm of the house affords me a few minutes of quiet reflection. While washing dishes, I replay every detail in my mind: every word of dinner conversation with the adults, the squeals of the little ones playing on the swing set, and the laughter of the teens gathered around the fire pit. Joel and I eventually retire for the night, yet the happiness brought by the evening’s events does not go out with the last of the house lights. We will wake the next day, and many days after that, for many years after that, still relishing in the blessings of the gathering.
Our lives are forever changed with each occasion that God grants us to open our home and hearts to others. Whether it’s a big milestone celebration that we’ve been planning for a year, or just some impromptu PB&J’s on paper plates when someone drops by, there are many happy times to be had with others.
My prayer is that our little blog will open up a new door for extending hospitality to our family, friends, and new visitors. So welcome to our “virtual home” here at Happy is the House! I hope you’ll return often!