My personal community is diverse in every conceivable way, including in levels of income. Several in my tribe are poor, and many are wildly wealthy. I used to “feel weird” being in the homes of wealthy folks. Now I’m equally comfortable visiting the homes of my broke friends and my fancy rich friends. I get a real kick out of being in what seems to me “like a magazine photo.” I know that income and asset levels do not in themselves make people different from each other. At heart, we’re all the same.
And yet, this week I made myself very nervous by inviting a wealthy couple for dinner at my house. “What was I thinking?!!?!?” I balked after they said yes.
Here’s the thing, though: I really enjoy them. They are sweet and smart and compassionate and good-humoured and we have lots of trippy stuff in common. And, they’ve invited us to their home twice!
I don’t want my nice friends to not be hosted, doted on, and served just because they’re wealthy! I don’t want them to have to be the only hosts—or to experience isolation—just because they happen to have a really pretty and large home.
So, I’m taking a deep breath and pulling my psyche together.
I have a very, very, very small home. They will still fit inside.
My place could certainly use an interior paint job. It is okay if they notice that. Also, I will make our dinner a candlelit one!
Our chairs are hard, folding, and wobbling. As folks with full mobility, they will easily survive an hour in them, and you know what? I will graciously allow my guests to stand up whenever they want 😉
When I see my home through my perspective, I adore it. When I see it through the perspective of friends of similar financial “status”, I feel comfortable and proud. But when I view it through the imagined lens of my friends who own multiple, gorgeous homes, I am mortified. Enough so that in preparation for their visit I washed the doorway casing.
But, I am remembering, too, these things:
1. Many people in “developed” nations feel isolated and alone, because we’ve stopped sharing our lives.
2. Some of my dearest online friends are reluctant to invite folks into their sweet homes because their cupboard doors haven’t been replaced as recently as a neighbour’s.
3. Personally, I love going to any home that is hygienic. Size and fanciness don’t factor in. If my home is clean and accessible, I am already meeting all the needs many of us have.
4. I want my relationships to be reciprocal. I don’t want my wealthier friends to have the “burden” of doing 100% of the hosting. I want to give to them, too!
5. My little and modest home, while entirely comfy for me, leaves others feeling increased appreciation for their own. What a great gift to them!
This is not to say beauty and comfort are the domains of the wealthy. Plenty of talented folks create stunning atmospheres with very little cash outlay, and some with big bucks struggle to create or maintain an atmosphere that soothes or delights them.
I believe I create warm, cozy, comfortable spaces, albeit not visually striking ones. Soon, I might ask a few buddies—whether broke or rolling in it—who have a pronounced esthetic sense to come on over as a group and give me their ideas.
In the meantime, I’ve invited my friends of the multiple large-and-fancy homes to wobble on a chair, bask in candlelight, and enjoy unlimited bowls of love, my treat.