At heart, hospitality is a helping across a threshold.
In Dant’s Divine Comedy, Virgil lovingly guides Dante through the hell of denial adn the purgatory of illusion, up to a passage of fire that Dante must cross alone, beyond which he becomes authentic. Earlier in history, Aaron guides his brother Moses off Mount Sinai back into the world, where the prophet must live what God has shown him. Even in Eden, if we can get past the punitive teelins we have heard so often, God ushers Adam and Eve to the threshold of the world, offering them the bruised and wondrous life of genuine experience that only those who are human can know.
These are deep examples of spiritual hospitality, of helping kindred spirits futher into their living. Truly, the most we can ask of others is for their guidance and comfort on the way – without imposition, design, or thought of reward. This is the hospitality of relationship: for family to hep us manifest who we are in the world, for friends to bring us to thresholds of realness, for loved ones to encourage us to cross barriers of our own making into moment of full aliveness.
This is the honest welcoming to the table, without judgement of what we eat. Often the purpose of love is for others to guide us, without expectation or interference, as far as they can go, so that we might begin.
It reminds me of a dream I had when ill, in whcih I came to the edge of a forest where the narrow, llighted spaces called to me. I stood there through many opportunitites till an ageless woman of great resolve appeared, saying, “You can’t start, I know, and if I were kind, I’d see you halfway in, but I am more than kind. You must enter alone. I will meet you on the other side.”
I’m not sure if that feminine presence was God or an angel or the peace of my own spirit, but its strong and gentle guidance was enough for me to make it through, and I never saw her again. But now, when I love by clearing paths that I and others may or may not take, I feel her in my hands.
This speaks to one of our deepest callings of love – that special hospitality for the injured, the strong action of compassion that makes it possible for those in pain to heal themselves. It calls mysteriouosly and arduously for the clearing of confusion and the comfort of what is real. It is the way that we who have suffered can take our turn, lifting the head of whoever has fallen, bracing their exhausted neck to drink, knowing we can never drink for them.
This week’s Soul Challenge:
*breathe deeply, and meditate on one act of guidance and comfort you have received that asked for nothing in return
*as you exhale, offer gratitude for that gesture of hospitality
*as you inhale, feel your own capacity for guiding without interfering. feel your own capacity for giving comfort whtout needing anything in return
*as you enter your day, practice anonymous guidance by leaving a gesture of kindness or truth in the path of others. Leave a sandwich where the homeless gather, or leave a book open to a passage of wisdom, or leave a flower on a bus seat
*help the world by leaving a trail of who you are
Chief Travel Partner
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
I love you deeply, for in truth we are old friends.
We are One.