Forty people buzzing, laughing, eating, sharing. Babies bouncing on hips. Mamas swapping stories, seeking affirmation. Giving encouragement. Toddlers squealing and running and jumping on beds while daddies beg them to eat a few bites. Big kids helping little kids and asking to hold babies. People eating off paper plates at our scuffed up second hand table, posted up at the counter, and squeezed on the porch bench. Plates balanced on knees, and grown men sitting on the floor at the coffee table. Crowded all around our little house.
We eat sandwiches and bagged salads and watermelon and chips. The ice cream truck chimes and sends bare feet running to the lawn. Sweaty smiles and excited giggles. Drippy cones and giant blue popsicles.
It’s so simple. It’s just people. Nothing fancy. Or impressive. My home is not a show home. It’s a mesh of hand me downs and second hand and best we can do. It’s dated and scuffed and lived in and small. The food is not fancy. It’s burgers and chips and brownies and store bought instead of home made. Because the only way I can do it is to keep it simple. Take short cuts. I know my limits with three small kids at home. But guess what’s so lovely about it all? No one cares. No one laughs less or has terrible conversation because of my hodgepodge home. No one leaves hungry or totally insulted because I served break and bake cookies. They are just...happy.
We call it Sunday Supper. It’s a new family value. A new tradition. The first Sunday of every month we throw our doors wide open. Mostly it’s neighbors and family and close friends. But sometimes it’s friends of friends or people we haven’t seen in ages. It’s this crazy chaotic organic mesh of everything that’s important to us. Home. Family. Food. People. Simplicity. Love. Authenticity. And it is just so good.
I’ll be super honest, though. It’s my worst nightmare in so many ways. I’m a true introvert. Books. Morning coffee all alone. Watching the ocean. Journaling. These are the places where I refresh and rejuvenate. Crowds and parties and events? I’m having anxious feelings typing it. But beyond my issues with crowds, there’s a deeper desire for connection. For community. For relationship. And that’s why Sunday Supper. I craved connection in a season of isolation. At home with three little ones. So I had to. I threw off my perfectionism. I shut down the people pleaser in me. And I just opened my home. And I don’t know why. But it works.
The first month we did it our yard was a wreck. Full of weeds and patches of mud. Holes and sticks and a broken fence. It was the day after my two year old’s birthday party. A busy weekend. But we decided to do it anyway. We had been talking about doing it for a long time, but it never seemed like a good time. We wanted to clean up the yard. We wanted a free weekend. Finally, though, we realized that there would really never be a perfect time, so right now would have to do. We were feeling good about it, despite all the imperfections. We were proud that we were finally going for it. Then the worst thing happened.
The night before our first Sunday Supper, my Grandpa went missing. My parents were here for my daughter’s birthday party. They left immediately and a search party spread out around rural southwest Georgia farmland. It was a night of fears and prayers and hopes and devastation. We lost him. He was found in one of his fields. He met Jesus there when his truck bogged down and he tried to walk out. 89 years old, and a very good man. My heart broke.
Jordan said we should cancel. Everyone would understand. I cried all night and all day and then I opened my home to people I didn’t know all that well. And they came. And they watched me burst into tears when I told them I was serving his boiled peanuts. I was embarrassed. But then it was ok. Good even. They saw me be a human. With big feelings. And they gave me this kind of sweet grace. Because they let me be sad, and they invited me to be happy. There. With them. And that night I learned how much people need people, not perfection.
Maybe we can actually reach out and ask people to come into the weeds with us. Maybe they can show us the way out. Or just sit with us there. Maybe they can help us find the light we can’t see. Bring us back to ourselves. Carry us back even. If we let them. And then, as seasons change? We’ll be the ones venturing into the weeds with them. Fighting to show them the light they’ve lost. Carrying them if we have to. Not because any of us is perfect or because we have time or because it’s easy. But because we have to. Because we need each other. Because relationship? Community? Deep and meaningful connection? We crave it because we need it. So we have to put ourselves out there. Bear our messy homes and our whiny kids and our store bought food. Show our tears and share our dreams and bear a little of our souls. It’s terrifying. It’s a mess. But it’s worth it.
Because here’s the thing. There will never be a better time. The house will never be just right. Your schedule will never be freed up. You’ll never have it all together. Life is fast and cruel and it moves whether we have it together or not. So just do it anyway. Throw it all out the window and invite people in. Really in.
Hold each other’s babies and sit on the floor and open a bag of chips. Cry. Laugh. Talk about what matters the most to you. It will be fine. I promise. And really? There will be something kind of startling about it. Because when we trust people with our shame and our fears? Shame of not having it all together. Fears of rejection. And when we let them in on our biggest dreams for our lives? The ones we can hardly believe we dare to dream. We give people a chance to be amazing. To show up for us in ways we never imagined. We give them permission to be their best. To amaze us. And I promise you. I Promise you. Promise you. You will be blown away.
It’s so simple. Just. Sunday Supper.
Love + Light to our Sunday Supper crew. Thanks for being amazing.