:: Hospitality ::
I feel as though I need to begin with a disclaimer. At the risk of disappointing some, this entry has very little to do with tea, formalities, beautiful floral china patterns, or homemade delicacies. Not really. It is a moment spent reflecting on the lost skill of hospitality.
Many people are gracious in welcoming others and have a gift for making people feel received with open arms, so to speak. But on a whole, our culture has pulled away from this skill and through the generations the result has been children growing up without that skill being modeled regularly for them to learn from.
Hospitality is the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
If I’m honest with myself, I’d have to say that’s not naturally my “disposition”. Sometimes my own chaotic schedule or insecurities muddle my efforts to be hospitable.
I spoke with a friend of mine about some of my thoughts on hospitality, and she graciously responded with an invite for tea to depict hospitality in one of its forms. Aside from being a phenomenal baker, Lora is simply amazing at making people feel welcomed and received. She quite truthfully could’ve served me saltines and iced water in a mason jar and I would’ve felt the same warmth from her. That’s a skill. A skill I want more of!
I had the privilege, some time ago, to provide care for a dear woman declining with Alzheimer’s. Her name is Ella and we were complete strangers. But through the months after our introduction, we became dear friends; Ella shared so much with me about the memories that were still very vivid for her. Memories of an era in the past so different from the world we live in today – memories of her childhood and young adult life.
Ella’s mother would host what they’d call “sing alongs”. She would open up her humble home and wagons from all over the community would come. Anyone who wanted to dance and sing did just that – late into the night. Enjoying fellowship and having been received into their home openly and warmly. She would make a pallet in the corner, as many of the small children would fall asleep before the adults were done having fun with neighbors and friends!
My point is, elaborate preparation isn’t the focus of hospitality. It’s the value we place on people and how we demonstrate that to them.
Lora decorates her sugar cubes to add a bit of flare to her tea setting; we enjoyed an herbal tea she learned about while in Nicaragua and loved so much she wanted to recreate it at home! Hibiscus, cinnamon, cardamon, honey and ginger. It was incredible – and I’m not even a tea lover! hahaha
Today we are so accustomed to the hustling past people in stores, or walking down the street. And I find some of that spilling over into my home; I’m going to change that.
So, that’s it, then. Bon fire & s’mores – my place – Saturday night! Bring a lawn chair and be prepared to sing!