A few years ago I read a book called, “Radical Hospitality, Benedict’s Way of Love.” One of the things I remember about the book was the premise that being hospitable, or serving as a good host, does NOT mean unquestioning intimacy with the whole world. We may respect someone without needing to become their best friend. In my working career, I noticed many unhealthy attachments, cases of misplaced loyalty, and relationships that, because of proximity, were thrown into “Instant Intimacy.” One line said something like, “Intimacy does not have to happen in every instance of hospitality, but reverence does.” I agree.
I also think that it is not enough just to behave graciously, we must be honestly available. We do not have to attach ourselves forever to people who appear in our lives and walk through our doors ( or hearts) for a time; we can learn to be present with them in the moment and then let them pass. One good place to begin practicing the art of being hospitality is in the context of our family. I have often thought that listening is perhaps one of the most truly hospitable things we can do for one another. What if I offer to give you a portion of my unfettered time, say 15-30 minutes, just to listen to whatever is on your heart, what is that worth?
Mark Nepo wrote, “If I dare to hear you, I will feel you like the sun and lean toward you. May each of us extend ourselves a little farther today in our healthy practice of the Art of Being Hospitable.
Sending you a smile and a wave on this rainy Tuesday in March.