The Christian virtue hospitality has been on my mind lately. With our little circle of friends growing, we've been pleased to welcome more people into our untidy chaos. Roan's godfather comes in the evenings after work and stays well past bedtime, speaking of holy fools, Welsh folk tales, sacred icons, and his summer trip to Russia. Social workers are in and out of the flat every week, some of whom have become important allies in our struggle to raise a child with autism. Various individuals from our parish drop in from time to time, and they are always welcome. The Jehovah's Witnesses long ago ceased to be traveling salesmen (or women, as it were); their visits are looked forward to from week to week, especially by little grubby-handed people looking for presents and sweets and attention.
A young man joined us for roasted lamb and potatoes on Easter Monday, and though he is not a Christian, I like to think we pulled him into our tiny, imperfect reflection of the divine domesticity -- as one playfully pulls a reluctant swimmer into the cold, fresh water on a hot summer's day.
Visitors are as much a part of the culture in our home as the family and furniture and--if I say so myself-- are met with warm attention, if not the height of creature comforts. It is invaluable for me to step back and survey my home with the eyes of an outsider. Perspective shows me that things aren't as hopeless and bedraggled as I imagine them to be. That if I were a visitor here, I would see beautiful laughing children, good conversation, and an invitation to sit and rest away from the cares of the world, without fear of judgement or rejection.
After a visitor leaves, I am tired, but I am grateful for that little window into our life. Like all virtues, hospitality works harder in transforming those who give it than those who receive.