Hospitality and Making Space

Space-Maker- one of my new phrases. I stumbled upon it when I was trying to say “pace maker” and it slipped out wrong.  But something about the phrase stuck. I kept finding myself thinking on it and every time I did I felt strangely connected to it. These two words started summarizing things I had felt or wanted to describe for a while and didn’t know how when it came to hospitality.

I always thought that in order to be a hospitable person I had to enjoy making coffee, a homemade meal, have a clean house, and always happen to have a safety pin in my pocket when someone needed one.  I, in no way, am trying to belittle any form of hospitality, but I clearly had a very limited perspective on what hospitality meant in a bigger sense and specifically how I wanted to express it in my own life.

I began to think about hospitality more when my children were born and I thought on what I wanted them to experience in their home growing up.  I wanted and still do want them to see that our doors are open, that our table is welcoming, and that whatever we have is to be shared.  I want my children to experience a home that is open to all kinds of people; people with all kinds of stories and a variety of interests and gifts.  

Yet, I remember sharing with my husband not that long ago that sometimes having people over for dinner or just in general causes me stress.  It’s not the cooking or potential cleaning, or other personalities in my home. It’s the longing I have for people to feel safe in my home.  I over think it, put pressure on it, and then create the exact opposite of a peaceful space.

So the other day in the midst of a conversation about all things hospitality I realized that all I need to do, is what I really truly WANT to do--- and that is, be a “space-maker”.  Nothing defined by a fancy meal, or a clean house, or a safety pin in my pocket- but a break, a moment, a rest, in which space is made for another person that says, “i’m here with you”. I want to be someone who others feel I am really in the room with them when we are spending time together.  Not thinking about my lists, or what is happening out the window or answering or solving the other’s questions or situation. I think I am redefining what hospitality looks like for me, my family, and in my life.  

What does hospitality mean to you?