Every week my mom made a tin of chocolate chip cookies. The tin was kept in a cabinet by the stove, middle shelf. It never changed. She always used to say it had to last through the week. It rarely did because the cookies came out when friends came over.
The cookies were always a hit. I’m not sure if it was because they tasted so good or if it was because it was part of the experience coming to the Perez home. Everyone knew where the cookie tin was. Everyone was welcome to grab a cookie. Mom had a way of making sure they knew that. But that was part of her charm.
My friends loved coming to my house because of my mom. She was (and still is) this warm, inviting and attentive presence. Never intrusive, demanding or loud, just always there with a smile, hug and kind conversation. The cookie tin was evidence of the hospitality in her heart.
Hospitality is the art of welcoming others.
People are drawn to hospitality.
Hospitality says you belong.
It puts people at ease and allows their guard to come down. There is a feeling of acceptance when hospitality is extended. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t need to feel this way.
It’s not always something that comes easily. If we don’t feel welcomed or a sense of belonging in our own world it feels difficult to offer it to someone else. But that’s where we get things backwards. We recoil when what we need most is to move towards. Hospitality multiplies a sense of belonging and love in us when we give it to others. Our tank fills up when we lean into hospitality. Just because we haven’t received it does NOT disable us from giving it. It does not take much to let someone else know you welcome and invite their presence with you. To show that you are aware of others around you and are interested. To notice and acknowledge another is one of the greatest expressions of kindness. This is one of the best ways to be a human.
This cookie tin memory has me thinking about the ways I welcome others in my life. The ways that I can be hospitable. I may not have a tin of cookies to offer. But ..
- I can offer a warm smile or the gift of attention.
- I can be diligent in keeping my house as presentable as possible so that it’s inviting, ready and unencumbered when unexpected friends come.
- I can engage with others. Learning the art of asking questions to so I can better see into their world.
- I can make a bedroom comfortable and pleasant when a someone stays the night.
- I can choose to not be on my phone in a store so that I’m giving attention to the strangers around me as I shop. For even the stranger needs to be noticed and acknowledged.
- I can stop what I’m doing and look my husband in the eye as we reconnect at the end of the day.
- I can give faithful greetings to those whom I see every day and show interest in their life.
- I can invite others to my home for a meal. Just because being together matters.
Hospitality is a gift that is opens us up beautifully.
It’s easier sometimes to avoid contact with others but hospitality reminds us that it is much better to belong than it is to be alone. We can all use a little more hospitality, don’t you think?
What is your tin of cookies?