Do you like a kitchen party?
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When I was a teenager, I had a friend who drove my father crazy. To be clear, I had many friends that stretched my parents, but this one, in particular, seemed to really push my dad’s buttons. She would walk into the kitchen and open the fridge and help herself to a glass of milk or a piece of fruit. For some reason, that level of comfort really irritated my father. He used to comment, “Make yourself at home,” but not as an invitation. It was dripping in sarcasm. When she left he would always comment on how it annoyed him. And of course, being of the age where a friend’s opinion mattered more than what my parents thought, I never mentioned it to her. In fact, I was a little in awe of her and how comfortable she was in helping herself. I couldn’t imagine feeling so at home in someone else’s house. Years later, when I was a dutiful pastor’s wife, and we would be invited over to the home of a parishioner for a meal, the kitchen took on another role. It was the place for clarifying conversations. It became a regular occurrence that before the meal my husband would be invited into the kitchen. The inquiry would be made, “We would like to serve wine with dinner, and we don’t want to offend you. Are you comfortable with us having wine with the meal?” These were kitchen conversations I eagerly anticipated. Praise the Lord - we were having wine with dinner! (We were part of an evangelical community that publicly frowned on alcohol. Of course, most of us were imbibing behind closed doors, but once in public, it was a different story.) We all know about ‘kitchen parties’. Kitchen parties are where the real party happens. When you are hosting an event, your close friends are the ones who gravitate to the kitchen to help you, to keep your beverage glass full, and to support you. I find large groups exhausting and stressful so I’ve always found a reason to retreat to the kitchen when I have a lot of people over. I welcome those close friends who show up to keep me company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where the kettle is put on and coffee or tea is made so we can talk. It’s the place where friends walk in and help themselves or grab a cloth and help clean up. It’s the room you don’t apologize for when someone drops by and it is a mess. It’s OK to have a messy kitchen. In fact, I’m a little suspicious if it is too perfect! (What are you hiding?) So much activity happens in the kitchen. I see this newsletter as a kitchen conversation. It’s a place to be candid, to be honest, to say the things we are thinking. I have talked to enough of you to know that you are tired of editing yourself so you don't upset other people. We are collectively over people-pleasing. We want to be honest about our lives. And it is going to be uncomfortable at times. It's also going to be hilariously funny. Like a good party, we will laugh and cry. Things might get messy. I hope you'll be stretched. You may be offended. But most importantly I want you to be comfortable and make yourself at home. Let’s get the party started.