Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Home and Hospitality

A friend asked me today to explain what I mean by "home" in a sentence or two.  This is too tall an order for someone as wordy as me.  I think of Du Bellay's "Heureux qui, comme Ulysse," of what Hebrews 11 says about Abraham, who looked forward to leaving his tents for a city with foundations; I think of the mountains of my youth, and my homesickness for their colors, and sounds, and seasonal smells.  I think of Odysseus, and his long road home, home to where others patiently waited for his return.  It matters that we find our way home, and the whole earth does not count as our home.  We incarcerate people in places that are not home-ly; we fight to live in our particular home when we are invaded, even though our species can live almost anywhere.  Home matters.

Perhaps home means this: the place where we feel free to show, or to receive hospitality.  The measure of our willingness to be hospitable to others, or of our ability to receive hospitality in new places, is the measure of our homes.  They are not measured in square feet, but in welcome.  What do you think?  That feels like a good first try, but perhaps you can say something better, or truer than that.