Commandment number two is somewhat borrowed from other people’s ideas which were shared in The Happiness Project but this one so perfectly fit me. Be a haven. A haven is a place of safety or refuge. A synonym for the word haven is a ‘sanctuary’. I have been saying for years that I want my home to be a sanctuary for anyone who enters. When the gals and I would meet here on Sundays (sometimes for sunbathing, reading, dinner, and eventually bible study) we called them sanctuary Sundays. This condo became the safe place where we could grow and nurture our relationships with Christ and with each other and everyone seemed to blossom in their own way from our time.
I don’t credit what took place here to the actual physical building but I’ve always been a firm believer in creating the right environment. When I decided to lead a group in my home I knew immediately, there would be food. I had lead a group for 2 years without really getting to know anyone when I lead it at my church. But then one night I asked all the girls to go to dinner and around that dinner table full of food I learned about everything from parents sick with cancer to infertility problems. Something about feeding people really opens them up in a way that a round table and 10 chairs just hadn’t.
But being a haven, it isn’t just about bible study. Recently I hosted a game night where 12 or so friends came over to snack and engage in fierce girls v. boys taboo competition (ok, maybe I was the fierce one…). I try to accommodate whenever someone asks if they can ‘bring a friend’ because part of being a haven is welcoming strangers like they’re family and that is a rule in this house. I try to remember to say to every new person ‘I will answer the door when you knock one time. On visit two, just walk in’. People always respond favorably to this rule. It’s kind of like Olive Garden – when you’re here, you’re family. Unfortunately this also means you do your own dishes, so, yeah – get on that. But one of my game night guests had asked to bring a friend. I said please do. This newbie had a great time and at the end of the night he said something that really impacted me. As everyone was leaving he came over to me and said ‘Can I exchange numbers with you? There is something really special about this group and whenever they’re together, I want to be here too’.
You want to know what’s funny? Half of that group didn’t know each other before that game night. It was made up of half a group of people who had met before and half that had never laid eyes on the others. In fact, two people had come that I had never even met myself. Be a haven.
A few days later a gal would call me and invite herself over. She was ‘in my area’ and just wanted to hangout at my house for a bit. Sure. She let herself in and plopped on my couch and said ‘I need to tell you some things that I just can’t tell anyone else right now’. We talked and talked until we’d made her late for where she was supposed to be going when she stopped by and she said ‘I just don’t want to leave’. Be a haven.
So the commandments of being Becca have grown to include this rule to live by. Be a haven. Be a place of safety as a person and in the environment you create in which people are drawn in. Be the place they can play taboo or raid your fridge or as happened this week: borrow your pool on a day you’re not even home. And if you want to implement this in your own home and life – I suggest that you truly treat anyone who comes over from the plumber to your best friend like family. It’s amazing to see the load this takes off people and the way in lights up their faces.