Tuesday, July 26, 2011


For 't is always fair weatherWhen good fellows get togetherWith a stein on the table and a good song ringing clear.- Richard Hovey, Spring

It had been six or seven moons since I had last seen my parents. The eleven hours of driving wear weighing in on my low back. My emotions rubbed a bit raw from having to drop my children off with their mother after a wonderful two week visit with me. In short I was tired, achy, and already missing my kids. I drove up to the large house of my child hood. The verdant forest surrounding it was lush and green; the grass in the wild places as tall as me. I sat in the car not sure of what to expect inside. Though my relationship with my parents had always been pretty good as a rule, how they were with each other was a question. I knew my father had just moved back home after a year’s absence, as they had worked out the issues that can build up after forty five years of marriage. Add to that their closet alcoholism and things can get weird. Thankful I didn’t have to sleep in my car or get a hotel, I got out. My father met me at the door, he had obviously noticed I pulled up and was waiting, and he met me with a warmer smile then I had felt from him for some years. Mother was in the kitchen putting the last touches on her amazing eggplant parmesan dish. It takes her all day to cook it and she made it just for my being there. The food was amazing, but even more so was the feeling of warmth and welcome I felt. At dinner I regailed my parents with stories of my adventures and the crazy things that life throws at us and of the times shared with my kids. I helped do the dishes and we shared in some ice cream. Never once did it feel awkward or uncomfortable. Though I had visited many times since I moved out of state, this…this was the best hospitality I had yet known. As I lied in bed that night I wondered what was different. It wasn’t the special dinner, no, they had done similar things in the past, it seemed to me that the difference came from deep within my parents. It would seem they had worked through much of their problems, and found that at the center they still loved each other. This love flowed. Not just between them, but out into the home, into me the guest. I realized then that this is what real hospitality was. It’s not the home, the bed, the food, the drink or the conversation. It’s the love.

ADF defines hospitality as: “Acting as both a gracious host and an appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honouring of "a gift for a gift."” Often times in our modern American society we think that the whole burden of hospitality lies upon the host. Yet this is really only half the relationship. The other half lies with the guest. Being a good guest is just as important. This relationship is the “Ghosti” relationship. This is the relationship that we share not only with other humans, but with the gods, spirits, and ancestors. We meet with the kindred in a very special place called a Nematon. It is here that we invite the kindred to join us. When they do we give gifts to them in the form of sacrifice. In return they gift us back with their blessings. This is the meaning of “a gift for a gift”. Since learning about this concept I have tried hard to incorporate it into my life, not just with the gods, but with friends and family too. This has worked well for my life. I feel that the relationships that I have developed over the last few years have been the best I have ever had. I feel that having this understanding of the Ghosti* relationship has been a big part of that. I have also come to realize that there is a big difference between just going through the motions of the Ghosti* relationship and doing it with love.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. Home really is where the heart is...