I have experienced a lot of hospitality in the last few years. The last time I had a place I would call my own was the summer of 2008. Since then I have been a lodger and a houseguest and a student and a traveller, camper, nomad. A lot of people have opened their homes to me, and done so with amazing generosity…
I’m in Texas right now. Over the last month or so I have stayed in at least six different households. Every single one has responded to my (and often several other people’s) invasion with a great deal of generosity, going far beyond what is necessary. They have opened up their homes and their lives, showing us their cities, feeding and watering us (and rarely letting us pay for anything).
I am awed and humbled by this generosity. And I dearly wish I could reciprocate.
Hospitality is a key part of Matryoshka Haus life. It is part of how we define ourselves as a community, and it is how we want to express ourselves to the world – by opening up our homes to strangers and friends, thinkers and dreamers, wounded travellers all. It is one of the characteristics of MH that is most meaningful to me and why I am so committed to them.
But I am keenly aware that I am almost always the recipient of this hospitality, rather than the provider of it. And that saddens me.
Over the last few days an unexpected crisis has seen me decamp to Dallas, a town that was never on the itinerary for this trip. At very short notice an amazing couple called Dawn and Mark have opened up their home to me, despite significant chaos in their own lives right now (they are in the process of selling their house and getting ready to move – possibly out of the country). And they did so unthinkingly, because radical hospitality is so ingrained in their DNA.
I only wish that I could do the same.
I don’t have a house to go back to next week. It looks like it may be a while before I find a place to be “mine”. Something is nagging in the back of my mind telling me my nomad days are not over yet… But that means it will still be some time before I can host others, before I can offer the kind of hospitality I have received.
I do hope it’s not too long.