Extending hospitality can be one of the most precious gifts. Not only to those who receive it/are welcomed in, but also to you the giver.
You don’t have to have much. It doesn’t have to be ‘fancy’*. When done from a place of love and genuine openness, the atmosphere created will transcend what is or isn’t on the plate, the number of place settings, the use of fork, spoon, chopsticks, or hand…
The affect will be clear. Connections will be made. The ties that bind will be strengthened… And when all is said and done and the “Adieus” bidden, at the close of your door you will have a renewed sense of home.
When I originally wrote the above (at 3am in the morning), it was after hosting a meal. The guests included 2 people I had never met before, and a family (2 friends and their 2 children) that I am close to. We ordered in. Partly because it was just easier. Possibly also because I may not have had any gas for the cooker…
It was the first meal -possibly the 1st gathering of any kind- I’d hosted since my return to Indonesia. My return had been a bit of a bumpy re-entry. With a number of things not as expected, or as I’d hoped they would be. It hadn’t felt like returning home.
But that night, after welcoming people in, enjoying a meal together around my dinning table, breaking up a few bits of chocolate in a miso soup bowl to mek it look pretty, that changed. My reply to a thank you whatsapp encapsulates it:
Was a pleasure hun. Nice to be able to extend hospitality again in chez Janice. What’s just come to mind is that it’s almost like a seal of saying, it really is now my home again.
My prayer, when looking for a place to live, had been that my house would be a place of blessing. Over the years, I feel I have seen that be the case. Over the years, I have also had times when I didn’t want anyone in my space!
I think having those occasions when you just want your space to yourself is fine. And necessary. I have though occasionally felt compelled to stretch myself beyond that feeling; and to still extend a welcome. The reward/trade-off? Conversations over coffee sharing heart to heart until morning. Seeing people who were strangers connecting over common ground. An inner joy from seeing them feel at home in my home… I’m thankful.