The Radical Act of Hospitality

I arrive at my aunts' house to find my favorite grapes rinsed and in a colander on the counter. 

There is a jar of the honey I like on a shelf in the pantry. 

One evening, after the temperature slips down to a chill, there is a soft knock on my door. It is one of my aunts, telling me there are more blankets under the window seat. 

Space is made for me in the breakfast nook, around the kitchen counter, in conversation, no matter the topic. 

It is hospitality, again and again. And let's stay with that word for a moment. Because it's easy to write off as tea in the front parlor and turned down beds. 

But hospitality holds more power than that. Hospitality, in its most meaningful manifestation, is letting someone know they are welcome, they are cared for. Who they are belongs here.

Hospitality does not ask us to be lavish. It asks us only to pay attention, to notice - that someone likes those grapes, this honey. And to care for their comfort as we would want our comfort to be cared for.

I eat well, sleep well, live well at my aunts'. It's hard not to when I feel so loved, so at home in a house, town, state that is not my home. 

In a world where so many of us feel so out of place, hospitality wraps a warm arm around our shoulders and says, This is your place. 

Which is nothing if not radical.

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