Being able to offer hospitality in your home is a big thing for many people. It is interwoven in the DNA of some cultures. It is cultivated as a status symbol in others. It is a monetised industry, generating significant revenue and employment, in countries around the world.*
Some definitions of /related to the word ‘hospitality’, “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”
“Hospitality is about people welcoming other people into their homes or other places where they work or spend their time.”
“A Greek proverb suggested that in being hospitable, the main feeling should be good will. The basis for the word hospitable is the Latin hospes, which refers to welcoming a guest, a word that evolved into meaning “to entertain.””
There can be a misconception that in order to ‘offer hospitality’, you have to be able to provide a lavish spread, presented on a well laid table, in a well kept home etc. Maybe this is a consequence of its meaning evolving into “to entertain”.
If its meaning remains that of a feeling of goodwill, expressed in extending a generous welcome to others; whatever one is able to prepare will more often than not, be received in the spirit with which it is offered.
My current work is mostly with people who are marginalised. Either by status, access to education, economic situation/opportunity, and the such like. From time to time I experience the privilege of being welcomed into people’s homes. Me, a stranger in terms of length of acquaintance, an orang asing, by virtue of me being from another country, and a few other differences in the mix.
The most recent table prepared for me may appear sparsely simple, yet in reality it was abundant. Both in what was offered, and the feeling of goodwill and generosity that was tangibly felt. Hospitality is important here, both culturally and in relation to religious belief and customs.
It is likely that in some of the countries that you live in, inviting someone into your home is no longer a thing that is often done. If the ‘art of hospitality’ does still remain, it is most likely done outside of the home, with the hospitality industry preparing the table.
I’m not proposing this to be a negative thing. I really enjoy eating out with friends and loved ones. I just wonder, if something of the potential for intimacy and building deeper relationships (particularly with those not yet our friends) is lost.
When we invite people into our physical space/daily habitat/our homes, we also invite people into the opportunity of sharing life more authentically. The more we share life and time together, generally leads to greater connection to, and understanding of one another.
Throughout the ages, an invitation to ‘come dine with me’, in the various forms it can take, has provide a place for mutual and meaningful discourse, that has also sometimes been the means of avoiding or resolving conflict.
So who might you be able to prepare a table for?
*”In 2017, the hospitality industry accounted for 313 million jobs worldwide, which translates to 9.9% of total employment and 20% of all global net jobs created in the past decade.*” – Why is the Hospitality Industry Important?
~ Additional extras: