Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It Ends in Hospitality

I’ve reached Chapter 12 and the epilogue of God in the Yard: Spiritual Practice for the Rest of Us by L.L. Barkat.

This last chapter is on hospitality. Barkat describes it as a process of receptivity, reverence and generosity.

Hospitality is not exactly my strong suit. I think I was born with hospitality not being my strong suit. Almost painfully shy as a child, I was always on the outer circle of the neighborhood rambunctiousness. Truth be told, I probably preferred to sit quietly and read. My parents, in fact, would often throw me out of the house to get me away from reading.

This didn’t change much as I grew older. I was the one everyone came to for help with their homework. In college, if I read one paper on either “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner or Young Goodman Brown, I read hundreds. (I’ve never read Young Goodman Brown but I can likely recite anything you want to know about it. I read the Faulkner story in my early 40s. I think I read almost all of Faulkner in my late 30s and early 40s).

I’m still not comfortable in crowds. When I go to conferences where I know virtually no one, I dread the cocktail receptions. I’ve taught myself to make conversation if I’m sitting at a lunch or dinner meeting. Wordsworth said it a long time ago: the child is father of the man.

There’s a cost to this, this “introvertedness,” this aloneness. But perhaps the time has come to stop paying the cost and find another way. Or, as Barkat says in the epilogue, “…you can embrace the life you have before it’s gone.”

Read this book.

The God in the Yard posts linked all in one place:

Introduction: God in the Yard
Week One: Little Woods and Big Woods
Week Two: Life is a Garden
Week Three: Singing in the Wilderness
Week Four: The Grief Makes the Way for the Joy
Week Five: Detachment
Week Six: Lament? What?
Week Seven: Working at the Margins
Week Eight: Sabbath and Verse
Week Nine: Writing Poetry
Week Ten: I Fix Mess
Week Eleven: Submission is Not a Passive Thing
Week Twelve: It Ends in Hospitality


Cassandra Frear said...

I like that -- embracing the life you have before it's gone.

We writers tend to be introverted, but online we are a chatty bunch. And you, Glynn, I would never know you were like this...Your tweets and comments give the impression of a man who is very well connected, loves interacting, and is skilled and poised. I mean, it seems like you would be perfectly at ease in any setting.

Hmm. Makes me wonder what impression I give online!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review! Appreciate you brother!

Louise Gallagher said...

Me too -- embracing the life before it's gone!

Nice work Glynn.

Deidra said...

It is a good book, and yes, it should be read. I'm at that last the middle of it.

And Glynn...I think that you are not so weak in hospitality. Maybe you're a bit uncomfortable in a crowd, but in your comments and your tweets and your words here in this place you are a warm soul, and I have been received by you with reverence and generosity.


Maureen said...

I've heard that the pineapple is the symbol of hospitality, so if I had a badge with a pineapple on it, I'd bestow it first on you here. You welcome all (we just have to think back to the 12 Days of Community and the other shout-outs you always give to know just how welcome).

Your posts on God in the Yard have been very good reads. Thank you.

Kathleen Overby said...

Yes, what they all said. Hospitality can be manifested in several ways, not only in your physical presence in your home or circle. You have made a hospitable circle to include all of us. Introverted extroverts ARE welcome. A plethora of us exist happily online it seems.

I hereby glue, pin, stitch, staple that there pineapple badge on you. Kneel, and be knighted. :)

jasonS said...

I'm painfully introverted as well, which as a pastor, makes me often feel very substandard. I try very hard, but it's so draining to me to be in crowds and lots of people I don't know. It does necessitate a deeper dependence on God though. Thanks Glynn.

Anonymous said...

i think that some people and some groups are just easier to be around than others.

and books are really easy to be around. they give and give and give.

and of course, some people are sensitive in a very good way.
like you.

and yes, there is a cost to you, for this, but we (those that are privlileged to know you) are fed because of it.

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

a great deal of insight to be found in adam s mchugh's book 'introverts in the church' ~
i reposted his excellent blog specifically to increase understanding for all in the church. you're invited over for tea and a read ;) ...
let me know your responses in comments - thx !

Unknown said...

I agree with all these voices here, Glynn. You are a stellar host.

I'm catching up on all the posts that I missed while on vacation last week. Wow. Your poetry really shines. I missed dropping by but promised myself to be very present with my boys last week.

I don't regret a single moment.

I've loved all of your posts on GITY. What a great book it is. Glad to walk this journey with you, Glynn.