February 24, 2010

Musings on Hosting Friends

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We have been hosting small social and spiritual gatherings in overdrive these days! Which I love! Study circles, Baha'i movie night, and regular visits with the elders have been taking place at a rate of 2 or 3 a week. This is going to sound so dorky, but I have been thinking a lot about the little details that go into preparing for guests. The contrast between my old community and my new one in terms of the atmosphere of study circles and such has been a big topic of discussion lately and I am so glad that people here are interested in making all gatherings where people come together to learn with and from one another more inviting and warm.

I take such pleasure in preparing food, lighting candles, fanning out our workbooks, adding oils to the rice in the pencil pot so that it smells nice when someone grabs a pencil (see how dorky I am getting over this stuff?) and choosing the right music. Even more so, I love to see the little mess left behind, the empty serving trays, the stack of dishes, workbooks all gone from the table and left strewn about the couches. All of these are, to me, signs of a successful gathering.

I love the getting and giving of homework that prompts us to ponder scripture and writings throughout the week. Joe and I settle in under the covers and try quickly to decide upon our favorite old testament prophet (who turns out to be Daniel) before our next meeting with the elders, I tell him about our Ruhi discussions of meanings of words and passages, as a group we look up words in the dictionary and weigh the definitions against what our hearts are telling us. Every bit of that just feels so good and the feeling lingers long after our groups have gone.

That act of hospitality, the considering the comforts and tastes of your guests, welcoming talk of God in whatever form one has found Him...well, it all just feels like the stuff that makes a house a home. We are so blessed to entertain friends of all faiths, to have the elders and their lessons at least once a week, to host study circles and firesides. All of these things add so much to our home, and it is what is on my mind today, as I sift through photographs and ponder the last few months.

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