The Hospitality Cupboard - Beauty in Repeated Patterns

Liv Booth
Liv Booth
June 1, 2022

Hear Liv Booth read this post to you:

The Hospitality Cupboard - Beauty in Repeated Patterns

“One little space. The welcome is enough. Share what you have, not what you wish you had.” - I really do remind myself of these things when I’m about to share a welcome with people in our little space.

Humans are precious and welcome, whether they are here for a long stay, a Wednesday night Signpost Inn Evening or dropping by as they pass through town on their way to the mountains. I’m invited to be in the presence of immortal beings … who drink tea and like a little bit of something to eat, please.

To that end, I have little things on hand for guests. There are times for grand feasts, times for elaborate spreads, but the beauty of daily welcome is its simplicity and repetition. It’s a pattern: candle, tea, platter, a bit of this and that. And when they visit again, or another precious soul drops by: candle, tea, platter, a bit of this and that. 

My kids have thought it was magic: flamelight on mugs and a still-life of chocolate and walnuts. Like it appeared out of nowhere! And these vignettes of human community, gathered around the fire, keeping soul and body together, do feel like magic. But it is simple to conjure. And I’ll tell you how.

Keep a hospitality cupboard stocked with non-perishables and a corner dedicated to tea and an instant kettle. I have Ghiradelli 60% chocolate chips, walnuts, almonds, raisins, maybe dried coconut, dates, or figs if they’re on sale. It doesn’t have to be much or in great quantity. A plate of these, in sweet little piles is a beautiful repeated pattern - always available, always with the same message: we’re all human travelers here; we need a little sustenance; let’s gather.

It seemed too simple at first, too “not enough”, but if the welcome itself is truly enough, then the hospitality cupboard becomes a kind of sacristy, holding the physical elements that bring the spiritual truths to the literal table. We are simply visiting; we are also partaking. 

Simple patterns repeated become beautiful, even culture-defining. Picture the Greek key design (also called “the meander”; isn’t that wonderful?). It is the simplest possible element strung together over and over and over, but one quick glance cries out “Classical Greece!” and all the richness that comes with that. What a privilege that providing from the hospitality cupboard and receiving from it - (there must be guests as well as hosts!) - are the motif that repeated becomes the Christian life, culture, beauty. Candle, tea, platter, a bit of this and that.

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