Hospitality Is Food for the Soul

Hunger is constant. It can be satiated, but without fail, in a few short hours our stomachs growl again telling us it is time to eat. Just as our stomach is hungry for food, our souls are hungry for connection. This past October, after undergoing major surgery, just two months after unpacking boxes in a new house and a brand new city, I found myself aware of hunger in its various forms. The hunger of my stomach and my soul were both fed in beautiful and surprising ways. Kindness and hospitality knocked on my door and provided just the nourishment my soul needed.

hospitality

In a world that is hurting and full of so much need, the heaviness of it all it can feel overwhelming. When I feel overwhelmed, I often experience paralysis because I don’t know where to start. My new friends and neighbors recently taught me that one small act of kindness can have a lasting impact that creates connection. In a moment where I felt alone, I discovered a village of people eager to step in and help. When we connect to each other, we build a bridge that offers a new path forward. Here are five acts of kindness that offered healing to my body and to my soul.

1. Warm Meals

When mom is out of commission, the kitchen often experiences a crisis. The delivery of a warm meal can feel like Christmas morning. Through the happenstance of a birthday Evite invitation, I connected with a woman whose kids attend school with mine. She asked if I was feeling settled after moving, and risking vulnerability, I shared about my surgery. She offered to bring me a meal. I willingly accepted. Little did I know that she would orchestrate a meal train through my children’s elementary school, and that for the next few weeks kind people who didn’t even know me, would show up at my door to deliver a warm meal. I felt so loved! In addition to the generosity of friends and family that meal train provided the unexpected and greatly appreciated gift of twenty meals!

2. Face to Face Connection

Recovery from surgery isn’t a pretty sight. Showers are optional and sweats are the clothing of choice. Those factors make it easy to become a hermit. But, being a recluse has its drawbacks, mainly that when real life interactions diminish the inner voices get louder. So I am thankful for my crew of friends who knocked on my door, providing me food and company. It helped to break up those long, and often lonely, days of recovery.

3. Beauty on Display

Through the weeks of recovery, many kind and hospitable people brought gifts to my door. Three of those deliveries  were bouquets of flowers. And the timing was impeccable. Just as the previous bouquet was beginning to wilt, a new one arrived. Friends and family sent pieces of beauty to brighten my day. It was a constant, visual reminder that others were thinking of me in a season of obscurity and newness.

 4. Words of Welcome

Most dinner deliveries came accompanied with heating instructions. Time and again, I opened a sweet note from someone in the community who had willingly cooked a meal for a family they didn’t even know. I loved reading the notes, often introductions. Turns out that many families who brought us food were also relatively new to the area. They, too, had been recipients of the community’s hospitality. They chose to bless me the way that someone had blessed them. In the weeks after, I ran into many of the women who had brought a meal to my door, and I was thankful for the bits of themselves they had shared in their written welcome. 

5. Kid Coverage

With four active children, being bedridden is challenging on many levels. As I am trying to lay still and not move, the children need activity to release their energy. So, when a neighbor offered to keep the kids for a few hours after school, everyone was happy about it. I haven’t met a mother who isn’t appreciative of help in wrangling energy-infused children.

Because of how I have been impacted by the kindness and hospitality of those around me, I am eager to offer help to the next person who finds themselves in need. Hospitality is what brings people together. If you are looking to build community, bringing a meal, a note, flowers, or offering to watch kids is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!

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