Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hospitality, Abundance & Scarcity

It is a glorious, overcast & mellow Saturday morning at my house. As I scooted around and visited some of my favorite blog sites earlier, I found several connected themes arising: hospitality, abundance and scarcity. All over the web are wonderful dream boards prompted by Jamie Ridler Studios. They honor the harvest moon and speak of our connection to earth and its abundance.

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

7 comments:

Hope said...

Yesterday and today I have been busy clearing out excess. Letting go of stuff, including 50+ books. I never thought I would be able to let go of books one day but here I am.

I have my grandma's teapot on a high shelf....you can see it but I seldom use it. Methinks I need to use it more often. It is 80 years old now. My grandma used it every day even though it was delicate and fragile.

There is a book on my shelf that I didn't get rid of that is called Nothing Left Over. A very interesting, thought provoking read.

We are into winter here already....snow for days already. I am hoping it melts yet. Normally we don't get winter until Halloween.

kigen said...

Lucy, there is much warmth in this post, greatly enjoyed your cupboard of the heart! May you fulfill your prayer for an abundance of hospitality, given and received on your pilgrimage ahead. For me, tonight, Grand Marnier! ((-:

Barbara said...

My parents and perhaps yours grew up in a time a scarcity. My parents never outlived the feeling of such limited expectations. I must confess, some of it rubbed off on me. Keeping good stuff for some imagined suitable time in the future was part and parcel of their culture.

Hospitality is a great Benedictine virtue, as you no doubt are aware. On more than one occasion, I have opened my home to someone (or some cat) in need. I must do more of that. Fear is what works against hospitality -- fear that there will not be enough, fear of rejection, fear of being taken advantage of, fear of the unknown ...

BTW, this is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and so your post is doubly appropriate. We are given good things that we may, in turn, redistribute them. All is on loan.

It used to be a custom to collect pretty teacups here in Canada. Department stores dedicated shelves to that pursuit. I don't see it as much any more.

Kel said...

hospitality and teacups
both things i can relate to :)

we built an entire home based on the premise of hospitality, what to put in, what to leave out, all focused on space for guests

some have challenged our house design saying it will not have good resale as it is not 'family' home (well, we are not a family, we are a couple who host guests)and we did not build to sell

even though our resources have been, and are continuing to be, scarce . . . people seem to sense an abundance here

so perhaps abundance is not what we may normally think of
perhaps there is a scarcity of hospitality in the world
and when people find it
that seems abundant

?

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Lucy,

The photos accompanying this post are lovely....those teacups, they still remain a surprise to behold on a more "regular" basis. BTW - Mother did always get them out for hosting her bridge club days. By doing that I believe she was bestowing her finest gift of hospitality to her friends.

Being recently surrounded by many folks my age and much older, the song "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think" took hold of my supple brain and serenaded me personally for days. Rather a great tune to remind one that life is to be shared NOW, not saved for a "later" time:)

Thanks for the visual and visceral:)

Tess said...

I think there's a balance to be had between saving things "for best" and using them so often that they become commonplace. And I'm referring not only to material things.

Such beautiful china!

lucy said...

hope - thanks for stopping by. i'd love to share a cup of tea from that blessed teapot...and the read does sound provocative!

kigen - i would gladly share a sip of grand marnier with you.

barbara - yes, "all is on loan." the audacity that we believe we have the power to hold onto anything or mete it out according to our whims is bold indeed!

kel - i have spent so much of my life doing "practical" things. there was truly a level of scarcity in that mentality. i love what you have created with your home and pray for perfect abundance there.

ss - i am delighted we are both learning how to enjoy NOW!

tess - hmmmm. i'd love to peak inside your brain right now :-) see you soon. yippee!!