Happy Tyr’s Day
As a virtue hospitality is something I have a grasp on intellectually. It’s pretty simple to be ready to be helpful in any way possible and opening up your home to strangers in need is something you can provide is not hard to understand. It is one basic way of expressing it, but expression of hospitality is a little deeper than that. I like the quote about better where people feel at home in your presence. Because it is the kind of hospitality that can always be expressed. You can always be hospitable by choice to anyone who simply needs to be in the presence of someone who makes them feel comfortable in a bad situation. At the very least learning not to be a dick is probably a positive thing to do.
In Christianity I spent a lot of time pondering the notion of – ‘love you neighbor as yourself’. Jesus is pretty clear on the fact that even one’s supposed enemies or even people we find disgusting are one’s neighbors. I get it; but more pragmatically, hospitality is simply being human to another human. To see them not as objects but as they are – as people.
To the Wolves and Ravens:
Hospitality has a certain level of need on both sides. 1) People are going to face things beyond their control and sometimes those things are devastating to life. People need help sometimes and to reach out a hand and help them in those times can fill a great need. 2) You need to be hospitable for yourself. I mean if your going to prove that your decent human being and treat others as humans. Your human side needs this, so you don’t start feeling you have gone completely over to the dark side.
We want hospitality and to be hospitable. Those moments are something we cherish when we led a hand or someone lends a hand to us. Less positive is when someone kicks us when we are down or takes advantage of our distress or bad decisions. We also want hospitality on both side for ourselves and others.
Rationally, hospitality is the heart of humanism. It is about the notion that the solution to human problems is humanity. We show great humanity in hospitality. It is also actually acting rather than some other activity where we put on airs that we are helping but it reality we are doing nothing. Prayer comes to mind. I know other people think prayer is doing something, but I used to see it as a most convenient excuse to not actually help someone and instead ‘pray for them’ for which they should thank you. Even though you didn’t do anything to actually help their situation. The irony was there are many verses of The Bible that caution against this; but we would run to the ones on prayer to say we were still doing something.
Wisdom says that hospitality is what make the world a better place. Not government, not laws, not better ideas. Simply being a free human, freely helping our fellow humans. So that people feel at home when we are around knowing that the benefits and comforts of home are there with us; regardless of how far they are away from their actual home.
For myself the biggest switch has been to dump the whole “I will pray for you” excuse and try to find something I can actually do. It is hard to say to people: “Sorry, I can’t help you”, but it is more honest. When I can help, I act to do so. When I can find someone who can help when I can’t is also a possibility. The one thing I never want to do anymore is create some activity that I claim is helping, but isn’t really doing anything. If I am going to justly toward others; with justice, part of that is making sure I am actually acting on the problem, not just ignoring it.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.