Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring is on its way

Spring is on its way!, originally uploaded by elinornicole.

In southern New England, spring is finally starting to awaken! With the sun melting the last of the snow and the air starting to warm up, my thoughts turn from hibernating to doing, from observing to participating. For those of us who experience long, cold winters, spring is a welcome promise of renewed life. We eagerly await the first blossoms in our gardens, the first frost-free mornings, the first days without a winter coat.

Spring can change our focus in another way--our isolating from others to connecting with others. The resolve to cocoon ourselves from the bitter cold winter, to stay warm and comfortable in our homes, is weakened. Spring's warmth and sunshine beckon us to venture outside, to walk through our neighborhood, to dine al fresco, to host a cook-out.

But for some of us, what I just described is uncomfortable. The idea of connecting with other people, of opening our hearts and home to others, is frightening, unthinkable.

"I can't invite my neighbors over--I've never said more than hello."

"I've tried to make friends in the past, but it has always backfired."

"My house isn't fit for company."

"I can't afford to entertain."

I confess I have thought those very things and had kept my home off-limits except for big occasions. But this spring, I plan to change. Like this tiny crocus leaf poking through the soil, I want to push out of my shell and bask in the warmth of community, of friendship, of true hospitality.

Join me in this journey as we learn how to revive the art of hospitality. bjh

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