by Nancy Casey
We usually think of hospitality as the effort that somebody makes on behalf of a visitor or guest. Most of us have probably experienced both sides of the hospitality coin.
When we plan to receive a guest, we think about things that will make them comfortable. What will they want to eat or drink? How will I keep them amused and happy? Do they have special needs or habits I need to consider? It takes a bit of effort to be a good host.
Sometimes the hospitality is organized and formal, especially if the guest and the host don’t know each other well. Sometimes it’s very relaxed, such as when you sweep the laundry off the chair so your good friend who dropped by can sit down.
As guests, we are the ones who are away from our usual customs. We hope that we can be comfortable and that things go smoothly. When we see that someone has gone to a lot of trouble on our behalf, we appreciate that. We have lots of reasons to thank our hosts.
The writer Kathleen Norris, in her book Acedia and Me encourages people to consider “acts of hospitality to yourself.” All the efforts that you make to keep your home clean and comfortable. The meals that you organize for yourself. The plans you make so that you can do things that you enjoy. The money you spend to improve your life.
All day long we do things to make ourselves feel welcome and comfortable in our own lives. We are our own guests and we are our own hosts.
Today in your writing practice, write a thank you note. The guest half of you will write a thank you note to the host half of you to thank you for all the efforts you make just for you.
A good way for a guest to write a thank you note is to identify a couple of different things that you know the host did just for you. Then for each one, say what they did and tell why that was a nice thing for you.
When you have finished your note, give it a title. (Even though thank-you notes, don’t usually have titles on them—this one is just for you.) Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Add decoration and color to the page as needed. Here is an example of what a person could write.
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Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. Sometimes she teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center. You can find more of her work here. She offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories novels—email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information