Hospitality

Lord Zeus has asked me to UP my game and think about hospitality–which is a Hellenic Holy Thing–so I thought I’d brainstorm ways in which I am already hospitable. Then, I can encourage myself to go further…

  • buying chocolates and pistachios for my friends for DnD last night
  • making my dad tea this morning once he noticed I made some for Lady Guinevere and myself
  • that one time I bought my students cookies for all their hard work during exams (once the cashier found out who I was buying for, he gave me a cookie for myself for free–perhaps generosity breeds generosity?)
  • sharing a bite or two with Lady Guinevere when I cook my own food
  • devotional offerings
  • sharing my gouache or ink with my art classmates (when I had my art class)
  • buying back pain cream for that impoverished stranger the other day
  • the many times I have bought my students bagels

Given that I live a bit far from my friends–I’m on the western part of the island whereas most of my friends are downtown or in the east–I’m pondering moments in my classroom where I can foster hospitality, or moments where in the city I can create moments of compassion and generosity.

What I especially like about hospitality is that there is a balance with it, right? Like in hosting D&D last night, my friends supplied a place to play our game. They also facilitated the process of communally purchasing food for the evening. In turn, us guests brought food and materials to help play the game. We all came together to make something happen.

On the other hand, sometimes if I am in a rush or have no spare change, I will refuse the opportunity to give to a homeless person. Inspired by a Christian minister I read about*, I have been trying to encourage myself to smile or say hello, but sometimes it is hard. It can be tough to look suffering in the eye like that. I am still learning how. Also, unfortunately, a lot of homeless people near my work drink or smoke. So my students (and some coworkers) often have a negative opinion. I try to think about it, and encourage my students to think about, how one might use alcohol, cigarettes, or weed, to cope with living on the street. Coping mechanisms come in many varieties, both healthy or unhealthy. I point out to my students that where we live, you can’t get a job unless you have a home address–so how can a homeless person find work?

I still feel there are lots of unanswered questions for me about what it means to be homeless. To me, homelessness is a failure of the State and society to provide for all its citizens. But we know that governments fail at the guest/host dynamic already, just look at Trudeau’s failures to honour his promises to indigenous folks here–fuck this pipeline, may it perish–so too is it important to look at where we need to improve our own guest/host habits.

What I’d like to improve on:

  • acknowledging homelessness more
  • being less shy about hosting Norse rituals at home**
  • maybe I should keep more change in my pockets???? or snacks?
  • step outside my comfort zone and volunteer more with the homeless (note: ok I just messaged one of the orgs I like to ask about spring/summer volunteer hours)

The Hellenic pantheon is really encouraging me to ‘think like Socrates’ and ponder what is best for my city and how to contribute as a citizen.

*As a pagan, I still try to consider the framework of Christianity as a boon because the traditions of mysticism, monasticism, and charity can still be an inspiration. I really do appreciate that the church instilled a sense of charity/giving in me at a young age. Of course, I do my best to ponder such things in light of paganism.

**as a priest in Norse paganism, Lord Zeus has helped me see that hosting Hellenic or Hindu rituals would blur the line between priest/devotee in those particular traditions.

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