A Call For Hospitality
August 12, 2020
A Call For Hospitality
Do you remember not that long ago when the coronavirus was new to all of us and we were told to stay at home to protect not only ourselves but also our neighbors and relatives? I can still remember the images of that time. I remember watching videos of people in Italy going out on their balconies and singing, playing instruments, and connecting with one another. I remember visions of people all over the world applauding for the essential workers who were working so tirelessly for all of us. I remember messages on social media, TV, and even over the radio that it was a time to come together. The message was clear: even though we were apart, we were together in spirit. And together we could accomplish great things. Bottom line, we are stronger together than we are divided.
What happened to those messages? I miss them. I have always loved community and the sense of connecting with my fellow neighbors, citizens, and humans. In my eyes and heart, we live in one global community. Therefore, the divisions that I now see and hear about are unsettling. I think they are for the majority of us. As Brené Brown says, “We are hardwired to connect with others. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”
So, I could explore why we are divisive at this time. However, I’m not going down that rabbit hole. Let’s just accept that we are finding ourselves divided and separated from one another. With this division and separation, we judge each other, sometimes ruthlessly. We also shame others who are not behaving in a way that is best for the common good. Have you judged someone for their behavior? Perhaps someone from your past didn’t respond when you reached out. Maybe someone you care about didn’t check in with you during this time of isolation. I’ll be honest. I have judged people. I catch myself doing it. I caught myself judging some college students who had returned early. They were rehearsing a dance and were not standing socially distant or wearing masks. On some level, all our judgments may be coming from a place of feeling threatened, frightened, and alone. The threats are very real these days. Aside from high rates of job loss, we are concerned about the health of ourselves and loved ones. We are concerned about our safety, the safety of others, and the safety of our fellow human beings. Judgment is prevalent. It’s important to know that it is natural to judge. After all, we are human. Therefore, we will never be able to control or stop our judging.
However, we can learn to be more mindful of our judgments, whether we say them aloud or just in our heads. It is also important to know that even if the judgement is just in our head, it is still present and having an impact on our lives and how we connect with other people and the world.
I have recently been introduced to the concept of hospitality. It’s not that I didn’t know what hospitality was before. It’s more that hospitality and acting in a hospitable manner has become important to me. Cambridge Dictionary defines hospitality as “the act of being friendly and welcoming to guests and visitors.” However, I prefer the Greek proverb that suggests that in being hospitable, the main feeling should be good will.
I am trying to be mindfully more hospitable in all of my communications. So, I am asking myself the following questions daily. I would love it if you would join me in learning to be more hospitable as you interact with friends, family, and the world.
- What would my interactions be like if I lead with hospitality?
- What would all of our connections and relationships look like if hospitality and decency were the priority?
- What does acting in a hospitable manner look and sound like?
- Am I being generous in my assumption of others?
I am guessing that our connections—whether they be with our friends, family, or people from a different political party—would be greatly enhanced if we were all leading with hospitality. Think of the last post on social media that you responded to. Did you respond in a hospitable way? Were you aware of your tone when you responded? Were you generous in your interaction? Hospitality automatically includes the concept of generosity for others. When we practice hospitality, we generously make the assumption that others are of value and that they have something to contribute.
What I love about the concept of being hospitable in the world is that at its very core it is a practice of welcoming others and saying, “Come on in!”
One of my newest finds is the HBO series We’re Here! My friend told me about this show, and I just fell in love with it. It is courageous! It is tender! It’s jaw-dropping and inspiring! The show captures raw, human stories and emotion and offers what I believe to be some key ingredients to harmonizing a divided society. Needless to say, one ingredient is LOVE! Another ingredient is hospitality! Hopefully, you have HBO or can find a way to watch this show and feel moved to show the world your very own magnificence!
Recently, this Nike ad came across my Facebook feed with a recommendation to “Just Watch.” I am so glad that I did. Truth be told, I don’t think I even heard the words the first time. The editing and images were so incredible. I am now obsessed with this ad and the moving message that it provides. I hope you enjoy this ad. I also hope that you allow it to energize you to do one thing to help create a better tomorrow for all of us.