Hospitality at its core is the “quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.” I am big on hospitality, maybe its the southern girl in me but greeting and creating a warm space is vitally important. I want others to feel at home, at peace and whole in my space. I want others to experience a place in which they are free to be themselves.
Hospitality is easy to extend when it is with someone in which we have extended the invitation. Hospitality flows like the current of a river when we have set the table and the arrival of the guest is a known quantity. Being gracious and generous is easily embodied when the name of the guest is well worn within the muscles of our being. I am currently experiencing the depths of generosity known as hospitality. It is a hospitality that heard our need and without hesitation invited us into their everyday dwelling (actually we had two families extend this invitation when the reality of our house situation came to light). This hospitality called for us to lean on one another in ways that were unexpected. We are sharing our gifts with one another; from learning how to make something old and transforming it into something new and beautiful, to traveling to pick up one another after a car unexpectedly died. This hospitality has left us setting new house “rules” to settling in to being our authentic, crazy hair self in the morning.
As I have been the recipient of this radical generosity I have been thinking about the hospitality that moves beyond welcoming the guest with whom we know their name. I have been pondering the hospitality that extends the invitation to the stranger. What would the world look like if we ask the stranger into our home? I wonder what gifts we would find are bubbling beneath the surface of one who speaks a different language or whose skin color is a different hue than our own? I wonder how I might become generous in giving my time to the person with whom I have learned to stand in the kitchen and share a meal with?
I am being embraced in love, a table held in nightly conversation and a pantry that isn’t just filled with food but of acceptance and belonging that feeds my soul daily. I wonder what the world would look like if we welcomed the stranger into our lives, learning together, breaking bread and feeding one another? I still have a lot to learn about hospitality and am thankful to be learning so much from my friend. I am hoping that in these weary days that include protecting self and words that divide, I want to extend genuine hospitality to even the stranger.