The Lost Art Of Hospitality
Our trip around the world schooled us in and made us gracious recipients of the lost art of hospitality. I am talking pull-out-all-the-stops, lavish-heavily-with-care kinds of hospitality to virtual strangers.
Let me give you just one elaborate example…
See that guy up there in the cover photo go the right of Mitchell? That’s Brett. He’s an Australian who hails from Sydney. We met him and his wife, Lee, in Fiji on the island of Navini, and when he heard we’d soon be in Sydney, he suggested that we connect with him upon arrival.
So we did.
“Where are you staying? I’ll come pick you up. Bring your swimmers. I’ve got towels.”
He pulled up to the hotel — swooped in, if you will — and all four of us climbed into his Land Rover.
In seven hours, Brett played tour guide extraordinaire introducing us to “his” city by driving us to his favorite locations including: Watson Bay, where he purchased fish & chips for us at the renowned Doyle’s on the Beach; Federation Cliff Walk, where we hiked up a short path as he pointed out the iconic cliffside below; Bondi Beach, where he taught us to body surf and dug ginormous holes alongside Eden in the sand; Hayes Theater, where he arranged for Autumn to sit in on a tech rehearsal for Darlinghurst Nights under the direction of his wife, Lee; Cow & The Moon, where he bought Eden a vanilla/chocolate cone filled with “the best gelato in the world”; The University of Sydney, where, in what is known as the “Bohemian” section of town, he invited us to see the creativity of his in-process house remodel; and Harajuku Gyoza, where he and his wife treated us to our fill of Japanese dumplings.
With big hugs and hearty exclamations of “Good on ya, Mate,” Brett dropped us back at our hotel with heads spinning and hearts full.
The kindnesses extended to us that day speak volumes about Brett, of course, but his thoughtfulness ripples gently forward, inspiring us even months later. His gestures toward us have me wondering often, how can I welcome others warmly and generously and extravagantly, too?
And really, isn’t that the beauty of hospitality?
Friendliness breeds congeniality which gives birth to neighborliness and a general desire to think well of one another. And all that goodness might lead to the sharing together of food and entertainment during the good times, and perhaps even acts of helpfulness in times of need.
I think it might be how Jesus hoped we’d love each other in His family — through extravagant hospitality — a hospitality so irresistible that many and all kinds of others would wish to join in on the amazingness, too. I know how I feel as a recipient of such hospitality, and to make others feel equally valued and loved, seen and connected? WELL.
Simply put: hospitality reproduces hospitality. It’s like the ultimate pay-it-forward technique in community-building. And it’s why I’m grateful to the Bretts of the world who teach so beautifully and tangibly the hows of extravagant hospitality, and who school us in its magic of turning strangers into friends.