I have never been easy as a guest in someone’s home, much preferring my autonomy to the reciprocal obligations required between host and guest. Small talk and genial pleasantries are not my forte, and often, I come across as rude or ungrateful when in reality I covet my freedom and do not wish to be a burden.
However, in my independence, I have demonstrated a certain arrogance, a selfish disregard for the social contract which is created when I’ve been welcomed into another’s home or private space. By preserving my autonomy, I have lessened the import of being a guest.
Guest is not synonymous with dependence. Rather, it is the ability to trust others and to accept care. It requires a gracious spirit to allow others to serve. While being a guest is humbling, it is also empowering, for receiving the gift of service is as great a gift as giving it.
©Sara Ackerman, 2016