THE PLACE WHERE YOU BELONG

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Home is a word that is defined a thousand different ways. Each translation holding significant meaning to the heart that bears the word.

“You can take me down to show me your home. Not the place where you live, but the place where you belong.” – Toad of the Wet Sprocket, “Something to Say”.

I heard these words recently on a road trip, listening to one of my favorite albums from the 90’s . Today the lyrics resonate much deeper within me than when I first heard them twenty years ago in my dorm room. Because that is the refrain that I want to define my home. Not necessarily the place where you live, but a place where you belong.

The home Ryan and I have built together is my favorite place in this world. Not just the structure, but the life and the love and the people who are grafted into the soul of this place.

In recent years the heart of our home has enlarged to embrace a community of twenty-somethings. Young adults navigating the middle place between the daily support of campus life, and the wonderful yet some times harsh realities of adult life.  And they have deeply rooted into the very foundations of our residence and our life.

Our front door and our hearts are open wide for them – not to be hosted and entertained – but to be loved and valued. To be welcomed with a hug and a greeting of “I’m so glad you’re here”, regardless of their reason for coming. To be invited not just into our home, but into our life. That is the heart of hospitality.

The young adults who spend time with us regularly do not need our home or our life to be perfect, they just want it to be genuine.  Because hospitality is not about letting others see us at our best. It’s about letting others see us as real. The beauty and the messiness – in our home and in our lives.

And in our home hospitality means more that welcome others not just to share meals with us, but to also invite others to take part with our family in the activities that bring us joy.  Thus in the Kessler household, every spring hospitality becomes enmeshed with baseball.

Because baseball is one of the thicker threads that binds my family together in the life we are weaving together. We are a family of five very different personalities, but baseball is a love that we all share. A game to play and watch that unifies us and gives us common ground as we grow and develop as individuals. And baseball will likely be an anchor thread that connects us to our boys as they become men and begin to build their lives apart from us – weaving new tapestries and forming new teams.

So baseball is a natural way to invite our twenty-something community into our lives to experience family with us.

Playing wiffle ball in our back yard:

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Cheering together for our boys at their little league games:

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Taking a road trip together to watch some MLB Spring Training games in Arizona:

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An invitation of love and family that we pour out and they pour back in through shared love and friendship. The beauty of hospitality and the power of community.

What are the things that you love? The things that you are already doing in your home that can become an invitation for someone else to enjoy with you?

Because you don’t have to be accomplished or perfect or brilliant or married or a parent to have a meaningful impact in the life of someone else through hospitality.  You just have to be willing to open your front door and invite someone and be real.  And it never hurts to play some ball.

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