Reflection Notes on Hospitality from Fall Retreat-
“Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy.” -Henry Nouwen
When I think of hospitality, I think of arms. Arms that are wide open, waiting and accepting of the recipient. “Free space” for me does not necessarily mean a structure, a building, a place, but rather the space in the heart. I think of the heart as this mythical, boundless place, where space only multiplies as needed, never dividing the love, never weakening. Hospitality is a human creation, one that exists to assist in the process of getting to know oneself. Initially, and on the surface, it has very little to do with “the other.”
Yes, when I think of hospitality, I think of arms. The imaginary place between the forearms and chest, that is always welcoming, ready to embrace. A symbolic place on and around the human body that, for me, acts as an epicenter for love, a reminder of what we’re all doing “here.” May each breath be a reminder to stay mindful to this.
To act as an example of hospitality is to delve deeper into the unexplored human heart, to march on a territory we may fear unknowingly, but cheerfully be accepting of the goodness that comes from the challenge.