Imagine that you are travelling to your vacation and you get lost at the airport where you have to make a connection and you miss the flight. Imagine that you don’t have enough money and that it gets dark. You feel lost, alone, and distraught. Despite the fact that all your life you have been a self-reliant and self-confident person, today you feel, perhaps for the first time, in need.
What do you need? What do you need the most in a moment like this?
I’ll give you a clue. What you need is not something material, it is not something that you can touch. No, it is not money and you cannot buy it.
What you need is hospitality.
Someone has seen your face and vaguely thought of himself in a similar circumstance years ago. Someone has approached you and asked “what do you need”, “how can I help you?”. Someone, after all, invites you to spend the night at his house. In the desolate airport, at dawn, even though you are a stranger, “someone took you in”.
The next day the air company solves your problem and you continue your holiday trip, grateful of having found that person who hosted you for one night. As you fly you think about that person, why did he do it? Why did he approach you and offer help if he did not have the obligation to do so? As you cross the sky over the Mediterranean Sea, a small boat heads to the coast of Spain. In the middle of the sea those strangers look tired, insecure, in need just as you looked that night when I saw you alone at the airport at dawn.
We can all be in the situation of being strangers and needing the hospitality of others, so it is better to start giving hospitality if we want to receive it.