“What does hospitality as a healing power require? It requires first of all that the host feel at home in his own house, and secondly that he create a free and fearless place for the unexpected visitor.” – Henri Nouwen
Painful messages have a way of trying to suffocate the life right out of us, don’t they? Wounds are part of our shared human experience. So I know I’m not alone in this. Jesus himself experienced deep sorrow as a human being.
The messages that have been most painful in my life are: You are worthless and unloved. You don’t belong. You aren’t invited.”
Recently I went through a prolonged period of intense grief and confusion because for some reason I decided to make these statements my own inner truth. What a terrible thing to do to myself.
But by spending time quietly listening to God these past several months I am beginning to get a glimpse of how it’s possible that the place of my greatest pain is actually where my “new” place of love and service begins. I’m also starting to see that this cannot happen unless I am able to care for myself in this deep wound.
What has been amazing for me to realize is that this kind of caring is the true heart of hospitality. Hospitality says, “You are home and you are loved.”
As I have said before I have a deep passion for all areas of hospitality: Cooking, baking, decorating, and creating a welcoming, peaceful, and fun environment.
But what I wasn’t expecting was that I would need to learn what it means to offer myself these gifts of hospitality. The parts of myself that I have been rejecting and casting aside. Even the parts of myself that don’t seem to fit with the expectations of others…cultural, religious or otherwise.
I’m grateful for the beautiful opportunity I have to embrace new truths about myself and about my life. And I long and look forward to having a heart space that feels like home for me and for others. A heart that is open…fearless, and free.