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In my lifetime, I have been more often the recipient of hospitality than the one inviting others into my home. Or, maybe that’s not the right way to say it. I should say I have been given the gift of an invitation.

I’ve been given invitations to commemorate holiday meals and the joys of the seasons.

Invitations that said, “I’m making frozen orange chicken tonight. Should I count you in?”

I was humbled to pieces when a friend said, “I’d like to throw you a birthday party at my house.”

I was given invitations to watch favorite television shows together.

And then there was one day when the gift offered was a place to suffer together. At the end of a one of the hardest days of my life, my friend said, “When there aren’t words there is food. Can I invite the other ladies and have an impromptu potluck at my house?” There were no words to take away the hurt, but she offered a place to rest and nourish my body. I needed that more.

These and every other invitation were people in my life offering to care for me by opening the door to the place they dwell. It’s humbling to open my heart and receive the depth of what is being offered. No matter how casual or official the occasion, entering someone’s dwelling space causes the connection between hosts and guests to swell.

There’s something sacred about the places we dwell. They are the places we let our guard down, the places we care for those who aren’t feeling well, the places our children build roots, the places we rejuvenate, the places we connect with spouses, the places we laugh with abandon, the places we’re allowed to be at our worst, the places we cook food and nourish bodies.

Inviting someone into the places we dwell, is offering them a piece of ourselves. It’s vulnerable and beautiful and deep.

And it can be intimidating.

It’s easy to question our sacred dwelling spaces when we consider them through another’s eyes. It’s tempting to overvalue the aesthetics of the physical space we are sharing, and undervalue the significance of the heart space we are offering.

This month on Hello, Darling we are talking about all things hospitality. There will be heart-warming stories of hospitable moments. People have prepared thoughts on teaching hospitality to children. There are tips for cleaning, recipes for sharing and practical tips all-around for welcoming people into the space you dwell.

As you read this month, and as you have your eye toward all gatherings of the coming season, I hope for the sacredness of your dwelling spaces to swell.

Jackie Alvarez
Executive Managing Editor

How can you be a good guest as you receive the hospitality of others?