Love sets the table

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Sarah Ortega, one of our base leaders here at Pismo, recently wrote this post on hospitality that we wanted to share with you! If you've ever been to the Ortega's house for dinner, you know how good she is at making you feel loved. For more of her writings, check out her blog at: http://www.sarahortega.com

"Practicing hospitality right where we are with the people we love is always a good place to start giving away our love. Especially when we use what we have and do with it what we can. Whether we use paper plates or fancy china, no one really cares what the place settings look like if a person is sitting where they're loved. It's a reminder to me that we buy the plates, but love sets the table."

-Maria Goff, Love Lives Here

I remember at the beginning of 2016 as we thought about the year ahead of us, I told Aaron that my heart for the year was to have as many people over for dinner as possible. Up to that point my worry of cooking the right food and keeping a perfect home was greater than my desire for cultivating deep community and making room for togetherness. The days were too busy, I had an infant, our house was too small, I might burn the rice... the excuses were unending. I finally decided that if this was going to happen, I needed to keep it simple, keep it a priority, and keep doing it!

There is something immensely sacred about opening your home, joining together at a table and sharing a meal. That is what I came to find as we welcomed family after family, couple after couple and single after single. We broke bread with retired grandparents, college students, young families, people we had known for years and people we had met once or twice. I soon learned how to cook for every food intolerance and preference- dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, whole 30, you name it!

Before long our teeny tiny house was filled with so much love. Our community grew as did our hearts. Whether it was sourdough pizza served on paper plates in our backyard or sweet potato black bean chili around our secondhand kitchen table, it was served with love and offered with care. 

The desire that stirred up in my heart that year has become a lifestyle for us, a lifestyle of invitation, hospitality, and connection. When people come over we don't just share a meal, we share our hearts, our lives. It truly is a beautiful and sacred thing. 

How do you cultivate community? What is something you have learned about hospitality?

I'll leave you with this prompting and one of my favorite quotes from Shauna Niequist in her book, Bread and Wine.

"This is what I want you to do: I want you to tell someone you love them, and dinner's at six. I want you to throw open your front door and welcome the people you love into the inevitable mess with hugs and laughter. I want you to light a burner on the stove, to chop and stir and season with love and abandon. Begin with an onion and a drizzle of olive oil, and go from there, any one of a million different places, any one of a million different meals. Gather the people you love around your table and feed them with love and honesty and creativity. Feed them with your hands and the flavors and smells that remind you of home and beauty and the best stories you've ever heard, the best stories you've ever lived."