Thursday, October 6, 2011

What is hospitality?

I have come to realize, that although a byline of my blog's title is "Recovering the Lost Art of Hospitality," I rarely address the subject of hospitality head on. 

My definition, simply put:
Hospitality is using what you have (time, talents, gifts, possessions, etc.) to bless someone else.

To me, hospitality is not about entertaining but rather creating an atmosphere of welcome.  Hospitality is about being present and willing to offer up something you have in the goal of taking care of someone else's needs.

It has nothing to do with having a perfect meal, decorated house or even a lot of space,
it's about making the most of your resources in order to help build a deeper relationship with another person.

It does not even have to be on your "own turf"--you can practice hospitality at the store by offering to let the person behind you with three items in their basket to go ahead of you or allowing another car to take the close parking space (bonus, you'll get to burn some calories if you park further out).  I have to confess that usually when I'm at the store with my screaming, squirming children who are helping themselves to bites out of candy bars off the checkout display, I have been on the receiving end of this hospitality rather than the giving end but I know how much I have appreciated others' kindness in this area!)

Some simple acts of hospitality:
  • Putting a simple wrapped chocolate on the pillow of an overnight guest.
  • Keep a brownie mix (or the ingredients to whip up a quick dessert) in the pantry and invite someone over for a simple impromptu visit with someone.
  • When baking a cake (or said brownies, muffins, bread, etc.), cut off half and run it over to a neighbor 
  • Holding the door open for the person behind you
  • Recognizing an opportunity to lend someone assistance
  • Surprise someone with coffee
  • Write a thank you note, just because
  • Double a recipe and keep the extra in a disposable container in the freezer to give to a friend or neighbor in need.
  • Offer to watch someone's children for an hour or two.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list.  I am so excited to hear of others' ideas of ways to "recover the lost art of hospitality." 

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