Last night, I was anxiously awaiting the delivery of new flooring that I had ordered for my home. After 25 years, I am finally changing the carpet in the upstairs bedrooms. Long overdue! When the truck finally arrived, it was late evening. The two men on the truck had been working in the sweltering heat of an especially hot summer day since 6:30 am. As they took the first load of many up the stairs, I asked them if they would like a cold drink of water. A simple gesture, really. It was hot outside. They had been working hard. It had been a long day. They needed to stay hydrated. As they drank the water, they told me how much they appreciated my kindness and about how glad they were that I wasn't angry that they had arrived so late. I assured them that I was just glad to get it and told them they needed to take care of themselves in this heat. One of the men told me that I was the only one all day who had offered them water, in spite of the fact that the outside temperature was tipping 100 degrees.
When we think of hospitality, we often think of a large gathering of friends around our dining room table, with plenty of good food before us. So, in an age when too many of us don't even know our neighbors, has hospitality gone out of style? And, if not, how do we practice the fine art of "the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors or strangers", as Webster's Dictionary so aptly defines it? Sometimes, all it takes is to just SEE another person and to take the time to ask yourself, "What could I do to make this person's day?"
Have you met your neighbor? If not, why not? Have you connected with others in your community? There are lots of opportunities to do that through events planned for residents. Take a leap of faith and get out there and participate. Have you reached out to that busy mom who lives nearby to arrange a play date for your children? Have you offered a word of encouragement to someone today? This could be done through a card, an email or (wonder of wonders) the spoken word. Have you told someone "thank you" today? How do you show hospitality? I truly believe it has NOT gone out of style! Sometimes, all it takes is just a cup of cool water…the very basis of what hospitality is all about.