“Courtney, why are you dedicating an entire website to hospitality?”
I am glad you asked, friend, because there are so many reasons why I want to write about it.
The first reason is that I took a class called “Ethics of Hospitality” in Fall 2016. The class rocked my world and literally changed the course of my life. In this class, I learned that we are all, every one of us, called to be hospitable. In learning of that call, I was convicted. I was convicted because I could pinpoint specific times where I could have shown hospitality and failed to do so. I was convicted because I spent a lot of my life avoiding hospitality, for many reasons, ranging from fear of failure, fear of being vulnerable, and fear for my own physical safety. Finally, I was convicted because I had missed the point, and it’s a big point, friend. It’s foundational to being a faithful follower of Christ.
In addition to the class, things were happening in my life that would have never happened had I not learned about hospitality. I landed my first real nanny job as a nanny for a Muslim family. Coming from a conservative family who had just heard about the terrorist attack in Paris, my parents did not want me to take the job, but because of the class, I took the job and prayed that it would be a fruitful and safe experience. And guess what? It was! I learned so much about the Islamic culture, Egyptian food, and how to be a guest in a home. I quickly became a part of their family and was sad to leave the job to go home for the summer.
In addition, I became friends with a woman who dedicated her entire lifestyle to being hospitable. She lived in a poverty-stricken area of Lexington, KY, and she opened her home to her neighbors and friends every Saturday for a pancake breakfast. She showed me what it means to embody hospitality, how to be hospitality in the flesh.
When I moved back to Texas after being in Kentucky for a year and a half, I volunteered with Jobs for Life, a program that helps people find meaningful and sustainable jobs. Having taken what I learned about hospitality, I learned how to have be open to strangers, how to make room in my life to make those strangers friends. (Even though the program is over now, I am still friends with some of the people I mentored.)
Most recently, though, I accepted a position at a church camp’s retreat center, and my job title is “Host.” Seriously, though, how awesome is that? Now I am learning what it really means to host others, how to be intentionally hospitable from the moment they walk into the retreat center to the moment they walk out the door. Talk about full circle, huh?
In short, hospitality has been following me. Ever since the class, I have been given multiple opportunities for learning how to host and how to be hosted. And guess what? I have failed a few times, but it was okay; looking back on the times when I have opened myself up to make space for others, I have seen how much I have grown and how much my life has been enriched by both the people I have hosted and the people who have hosted me.
So, I invite you now. Allow me to host you. Open your heart into learning about the transformational power of Sacred Hospitality. Be my guest.
From an open table,