- Sunday October 25: You Shall Offer Hospitality
[link to full email]: https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/word-of-the-week-oct25
[excerpt from email]: “… The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own song, speak their own languages, dance their own dances, free also to love and follow their own vocations.”
-Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life
When have you been the recipient of gratuitous hospitality? How did you feel? In deep listening to the inner voice, is there someone whom you are being beckoned to offer divine-human hospitality now?
Catherine and David strung lights around an outdoor patio, set a lovely table at which six of us could sit socially distanced, and prepared a fresh meal. Drew and I brought wine, Kay and Kevin brought a pie – we sat in the open air, drinking in each others’ company. Due to the continuing threat of covid 19, the six of us had not been together for many months. What made this gathering particularly memorable was Kay’s presence. She has a debilitating disease; she is no longer able to walk, does not have enough strength in her lungs to project her voice. Yet there was, smiling and nodding in response to questions.
How did I feel that evening? Grateful – for long standing friendships, for Kay’s courage, for Catherine and David’s hospitality. Hospitality created the space where we could gather and manifest love for each other.
For medical reasons, I have been very cautious about offer hospitality to many people since March. After just a bit of deep listening, I feel moved to take some pumpkin pie to the elderly widow at the end of the street.
Sunday October 26: You Shall Offer Hospitality
My moment receiving gratuitous hospitality came in the form of a simultaneous hug from three different women, all named Elaine. I am being beckoned to offer this gracious, hospitable place to my youngest brother, struggling now between continuing to do a job he loves, which requires weekly travel, with the reality that travel by air, stays in hotels and icy receptions at worksites will be the norm for the foreseeable future. I can welcome his complaints and concerns with gracious love, try not to get my feelings hurt when he vents and give him words that encourage him to slow down and listen to his still, small voice before making any major life decisions. <3 linda
every centering prayer session is an opportunity to sweep out the selfish cencerns in my consciousness and make a warm and welcoming place for the other. just slowing everything way down over those 20 minutes is traing me to be mindful throughout the day. i am consciously readying myself for whoever or whatever enters my space. this morning , it was an inky black sky with an ethereal cloud floating in it. out come the paints, and it came to life on paper.
it is helping that i am practicing and learning compassionate listening remotely. how wonderful to (finally) know that people are whole and complete at their core and i dont need to say more in response to people other than appreciation. having had plenty of counseling, the practice of just listening without feedback is a gamechanger.
how can i be so blessed?
As I reflect on hospitality, I realize that I find it difficult to extend hospitality to anyone who offers to help me. I can be fiercely independent and fend off offers of help. I pray that I learn both humility and gratitude as I surrender my pride and graciously accept help when it is offered. In this way, I can extend my hospitality to friends and strangers whenever they offer a helping hand.
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