I was having a discussion with some friends last night about people that had dramatic influence in their lives. I would have thought that it would have been people of power or influence, or that it would have happened in a place conducive to change like a conference center or the worship center of a church, maybe a classroom.
Almost every person in the room last night said “they opened their home up to me”.
The other night we were visiting a friends house and I made an observation that people in their house tended to congregate in one of the most inconvenient of places, the hallway. Not just any part of the hallway, but the part of the hallway that was the crossroads between the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room. Yet every time we visit their home we end up congregating in that same spot, and great conversations happen. I bet if I asked you to close your eyes and think about where community happened most often in your homes you would all have some interesting and unusual answers.
I have a friend back in Sioux Falls that has an amazing turn of the century home that has a formal dining room, a large living room with a fireplace, and a great, but small kitchen that almost seems like a servants kitchen. It is small and relegated to the farthest corner of the house. I love that house, but no one would ever build a house like that today. Why? Because many years ago people started to build homes with open floor plans because the kitchen started to be the place that people congregated. Community had become more important than formality.
We don’t seem to be able to choose the places that community happens, or where transformation takes place. We can create places that seem to be conducive to change, but there is something about being allowed to share someone else’s spaces that allows it to happen better than anywhere else. Being able to see where people live and seeing the place that they are comfortable in helps us to be able to lower our guard and share something that is not as easy to do in a public or formal setting.