Posts Tagged ‘welcome’

Nobody goes hungry in my kitchen!

Posted by Sarah Jane on December 12, 2009

“Nobody goes hungry in my kitchen!” Those are the words of my mother-in-law, who practices generosity and hospitality with something akin to religious fervor. Long before he ever considered a culinary degree, my husband understood the importance of making sure everyone had  a place and felt welcomed.

And so it has troubled him that a co-worker, a Pakistani Muslim, was unable to eat at many of the company events because none of the food was halal. For a recent holiday potluck, he decided to remedy this situation by making a dish especially for his friend. And so it was that I came home to find my blond-haired Baptist husband, armed with some internet research and a bit of advice from the manager of the halal market, up to his elbows in lamb jalfarazi.

It was a success. The co-worker was deeply touched that someone had put forth that effort to make sure he would be able to eat, and gave high compliments to my husband’s Pakistani cooking. But the gesture was confusing to many of their office mates, who found my husband’s actions strange and incomprehensible. They couldn’t understand why he would go out of his way to accommodate someone else’s eating requirements like that.

That troubles me. Hospitality is about a fundamental respect for other human beings. It’s not exactly optional.

Neither does it require that we understand or agree with everything that someone else believes, but only that we respect her enough to learn what we can do to make her feel welcome. And it doesn’t require that we get everything right on the first attempt. It isn’t our perfection that makes people feel wanted and welcomed, but the fact that we notice, and care, and try.


Posted in community, culture | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

In the beginning…

Posted by Sarah Jane on November 2, 2009

In the beginning, there was another blog. I recorded my thoughts and ideas there for nearly 5 years, and not a drunken photograph in sight. But as a newly-minted professional seeking employment in “the digital age,” I have been warned again and again that one can never be too careful about what’s out there on the internet. And so my old blog, with its innocent honesty and many genuinely good thoughts, suddenly seems too risky and immature for a hypothetical employer to find. So this, my readers, is not the beginning, but only one new beginning among many others — a new beginning of dubious necessity.

I am, perhaps, the ultimate conservative.

I am also still undecided as to whether I want my real name attached to this blog. For now, I can identify myself as a Christian (at least, most of the time) and as an artist and educator. The thoughts I hope to share fall at the uneasy crossroads of those three identities, and at my ongoing struggle to keep all three firmly engaged in time and place and culture. So perhaps it would also be helpful to identify myself as an American citizen, and a lifelong resident of the rural Midwest.

Posted in personal | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »