Later this month, a group of us will welcome Ravina to Omaha for her first visit. We’re excited to spend time with this bright, determined student from Maher Ashram in India, who realized her dream of attending a U.S. college and possesses a passion for Classical Indian and Bollywood dance.
Hospitality Opens Borders & Hearts
Ravina’s visit also offers me the chance to practice my welcoming skills. In India, the guest is sacred. If we do our welcoming well, it’s my hope that Ravina will feel as loved and at home as we did at Maher recently. Our task of welcoming is considerably easier. We aren’t hosting a mass and four 20th Anniversary celebrations attended by friends and well-wishers from around the world, a former Indian President and a renowned Buddhist monk at the same time we are welcoming Ravina.
The Nature of Welcome
During 9 ½ months of visits to Maher, I’ve watched the women, children, men and staff welcome a seemingly endless parade of international visitors from Singapore to Lichtenstein, a steady stream of local friends celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and families, friends, and neighbors arriving for one of the 90+ weddings or other events. Each time, the community sets aside what must feel like pressing duties, exhaustion, and cricket or studying, to welcome, celebrate, or uplift someone or something. And, each time, the community members offer their hearts with joy, smiles, and grace.
Sometimes the spirit of welcome seems most apparent in small gestures, as when Maher Founder and Director Sr. Lucy Kurien stopped by to school us on sari wear after spending more than ten hours celebrating with thousands of guests. Her attention and care spoke volumes.
Learning One Person, One Organization at a Time
This way of welcoming is a skill I seek to master. I want it to become second nature. This hospitality that uplifts the person being welcomed and doing the welcoming—whether the guest is staying for 5 minutes, 5 days or 5 months.
After all, there’s a world out there to welcome into our hearts and homes.