By Dr. Synesio Lyra, Jr.
A hospitable heart must always precede a hospitable action. You don’t need to open the doors of your house to anyone, including strangers, but it’s necessary to have the doors of your heart noticeably ready to open to other fellow humans!
In fact, I have offered to some of my audiences the challenge: “Be a hospitality center wherever you are, where others can approach you without fear, with significant benefits for them, and for yourself as well.” Indeed, there’s nothing good anyone ever does unto others which does not reward that individual even more than the immediate beneficiary of a kind gesture!
If you are to make hospitality a daily experience, you need to manifest a welcoming disposition to all you meet. Not just your words but your countenance must convey that reality. Most people can detect ‘yes faces” and “no faces,” and it is to the former that others gravitate.
As social creatures, many humans experience lonely days on account of the lack of direct personal contact with fellow humans. It’s not sufficient to meet the grocer, to greet the postman, to wave to a neighbor, or momentarily to open the house doors to a repair man.
Most humans are eager for greater depth in their daily communication with people and this is possible to be restored to the extent that one recognizes the significance of hospitality, whereby they can meaningfully connect for occasional, or even regular, exchanges on issues of greater meaning and depth.
Although sometimes the initiative can come from another, unto whom you graciously respond, you also need to learn how to approach people and see if gradually a meaningful acquaintance can be established. Persons need whatever you provide, as you also may lack what another can offer, in terms of friendly interactions.
While it is true that much hospitality occurs within a home which invites others in, it can be just as effective when the only doors open are those of your heart, wherever you may be, in welcoming what others have to say and in joyfully responding with what you are capable of offering. Every single day we are surrounded by such opportunities, and its true beneficiaries are those who cautiously, but also decisively, take rightful advantage of them. The benefits are mutual, and often enormous!