Pausing at Country Parson, the theme of scarcity popped onto my list as I read his post, Don't Spoil Them. In a nutshell, the question I heard was “if we give too much to them, will there be enough left for us”? Yikes! is my inner response - which leads to the last theme of hospitality.
This premise actually began stirring yesterday as I read the wonderful words exploring Emily Dickinson found at The Feminist Shepherd. "The Savior's only signature to the Letter he wrote to all mankind, was, A Stranger and ye took me in." How often do we turn away from “the stranger” and manufacture walls between us and them?
The final post that got me going may seem an unlikely one, but it was Kate I’s request to ponder Coffee and Tea. Her lovely photo of teacups sent me back in time to the day my siblings and I cleared out our mother’s cupboards for the final time. Tucked way in the back was a collection of gorgeous cups and saucers that I didn’t know existed. My sister assured me that Mother had indeed collected teacups – a fact totally new to me.
The contrast of Kate’s words inviting the hospitality that is unique to sharing a warm beverage with a friend (or stranger) against my mother’s hiding of these beautiful treasures sent me first to my camera and next to my keypad. You see, I know my mother was saving those cups for a “special” time. I grew up with lots of lovely things surrounding me, but most of them were tucked away – unburned candles, lace tablecloths, unopened bottles of wine – reserved for just the right time. In this I see a mentality of scarcity and separation. Who? When? What day would ever be special enough to bring out these treasures?
The battle of scarcity and generosity is one that still rages within me. I must be mindful to be extravagant rather than stingy and greedy. Today, I proudly exhibit those teacups in my home. While I prefer a heftier mug for my warm beverages, I love the beauty of these delicate pieces of china. I burn new candles almost as soon as they arrive - sometimes on the altar I share only with God in my silent moments. Other times they light the way for guests arriving at my home. It has been hard to break a mentality of scarcity. But really, who is more special than the person nearest in the moment – even if it’s only me?
In the coming week, I shall carry these themes with me: hospitality, scarcity and abundance. Whether I am sharing a cup of tea with my kitty cat, being served on an airplane by a flight attendant or enjoying a pint in an Irish pub with old and newfound friends, I pray that hospitality will prevail - leading to abundance and shutting the door on the mentality of scarcity. Love, after all, is meant to be shared.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on hospitality, scarcity and abundance as we enter the fall season here in the northern hemisphere. Perhaps today you will break out that special chocolate, use a quilt that has been tucked away or share a cup of coffee with a stranger. The possibilities are abundant!
mother's teacups 10.10.09