Welcoming the Stranger

Welcoming the Stranger

Ladies, do you need a spa day? Do you need to be welcomed, listened to, and treated kindly? Does your soul need some tender loving care?

For Christmas my grandma bought me a spa facial and recommended that I use Paula at Elevate Salon by Westdale. Let me tell you about experiencing Paula’s hospitality.

Paula greeted me at the door with a smile and a great spirit. She asked me about myself and my day and listened to what I had to say. I knew she was listening because she followed up with questions about what I had said. She took me to a calm and quiet room where I was able to get comfortable. Once settled in, she described the process of the facial and asked what my preferences were. The facial was a wonderful experience, after which, she offered me a cool drink.

When I left the spa, I felt a sense of gratitude for her hospitality. What she had offered me was not something you could buy. Her bright spirit made me feel welcomed and safe. Paula showed me a great example of hospitality. She welcomed me, a stranger, into her life for an hour.

We have the privilege of doing this for others. We can invite strangers into our lives and homes and treat them like friends. If this idea sends panic to your heart, here’s a reminder that it’s not about entertaining. It’s not about impressing someone with perfect house décor, ‘Martha Stewart style’ meals, or well-mannered children. Entertainment is a focus on self (on the home, on my kids’ behavior, on me). Entertainment says, “Look at me and my things.”

Hospitality, however, is an ability to focus on others. Hospitality is a way of saying, “There you are, I’ve been waiting for you.” Welcoming people into my home, offering them a tall glass of something hot or cold, and listening to them is the best gift my family and I can give to a weary soul. And every soul is weary at times.

My husband and I were reminded of this recently when we invited someone into our home. After eating and drinking and being cared for, he shared some legal challenges he was facing. He felt much shame around this issue and that made him want to keep his situation a secret. But in our home, with our care, he felt comfortable sharing his challenges with us. And when you’re able to speak your shame out loud, you force the shame to shrink. My husband and I offered this young man a gift. The gift of someone who listens and cares. And, here’s the secret to moving in the direction of hospitality. It’s not just the stranger that benefits from hospitality. Offering hospitality to others creates joy in the heart of the giver.

Lindsey Ungs
Connection & Communication Architect

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