October 9, 2022

Hospitality / Soulful Living

Today I’m thinking about all the investments I’ve made in other people. The events and parties and dinners and fundraising receptions I’ve hosted at my house at my expense.  And three years of Sunday@Six gatherings.

One of the things I love about true hospitality and generosity is it delivers a kind of immediate satisfaction. There is joy in sharing. Pleasure in hosting. Hosting reminds us there’s not only enough – there’s enough to share. Definition of abundance.

There was once an idea of “social obligation”. A kind of network of reciprocity – one could count on having invites returned and generosity repaid. Great thought went into the makeup of a dinner table or a social event – chemistry and commonality.

I’ve always preferred the joy of random connections. Hence Sunday@Six. But also love the results of a carefully curated table of like minded people.

Now – the fabric of social connection is all frayed. And in this city where I’ve invested so much of my life, “hospitality” is tied to position. So when my position changed so did the invites. The social fabric of Houston is work based, position based. I was really wise to make friends in all the places I visited. Friendships that transcend positions.

What sustains me now is the hospitality and practices of the culture I come from. Celebrating one another – celebrating life for its own sake. Hosting out of affection. Reminding one another of abundance. Sharing food. Music. Laughter. Movement. Encouraging one another in endeavors that matter to us.

It’s really important to know how to live out of one’s soul. A soul based life over a position based life will get you through to the end.

Positions end. They all end. And all the superficial relationships go with them and then all you have is friends. And that’s more than enough.

PS: SUNDAY@SIX explained…

After Hurricane Ike, I was working so many hours I couldn’t keep up with friends. At the same time I was thinking about how people once visited one another on Sunday – just casually. I decided to start saying to anyone who asked to get together “come on Sunday at six o’clock”. The first Sunday there were eight people. Over the next 2-3 years it grew and and grew until at its peak there would be 75-125 people. It spilled onto my front steps and into my garden – wherever. And more than a few times I went to bed with people still talking in my living room. People made friends and laughed and argued. Found someone to date. Fell into and out of love.

SUNDAY@SIX. Easy to remember. Simple to show up. Same time and place each week.

I would buy or make some main dish and people would bring whatever they felt inclined to in the way of food and drink. There was always enough.

I opened my door each week and never knew exactly who would be there. It was mostly people I knew in some way – and people they knew. From nonprofit sector. From political campaigns. From the neighborhood. From other cities visiting. Business folks tired of the luncheon/gala scene. People who needed company. Wanted to talk and hang out.

I never let anyone co-opt it. Or give it an agenda. People would say “we should move this around”. Or can “so and so”speak? I would say you can do whatever you want at your house. This is my house and everyone is welcome to come and be together – simply to be together.

To be together. Company. Hospitality. Welcome.

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