just reply.

December 30, 2010

So I wrote this letter.  It was to this singer/songwriter B+I really, really enjoy.  The letter was a request for him to come and play our wedding song.  I’m not asking for all his time, just five minutes really.  It may seem like a lot of work for so little time, but doesn’t knowing the fact you will affect two of your fans lives (and subsequently more due to guests and/or us re-telling the story over and over and over) make it worth it?

I know people are busy.  I know there’s one million and two things to do.  But at least reply back with an answer.  “Thank you so much for your request, but we can’t possibly fit that in at the moment.”

I’ve learned something from this exercise.  At the very least, use an auto-reply when you know you won’t be able to respond in a timely manner.  It’s only right to get back to people with any requests they make. It doesn’t have to be a book, just an acknowledgement.

B has told me before that he and a lot of other people he knows sometimes don’t even respond to emails…ever.  Why not?!  Is it that hard people?  If one takes the time to write you, the least we can do is reply.  In a world of over stimulation, if we can’t slow down for five minutes and respond to the people who want to hear from us, what good is communication at all?

So I’m realizing hospitality goes hand in hand with partnership.  I think this has been a long coming realization to me, but the ah-ha moment only clicked in my brain recently.  (I love it when that happens.) 

The idea is this:  in order to create a hospitable environment one has to be open-minded and accepting of, well, almost anything.  Of course, there are parameters.  You don’t have to create a hospitable environment to, say, an axe murderer.  But well, likewise, you don’t always have to offer cookies and milk and be sitting at the kitchen table.  Hospitality involves a partnership.  It’s a partnership between the parties involved.  One wants to be hospitable, but someone has to accept your hospitality.  It’s a simple thought process really, but I think it’s hard to execute for some.

And harder still for others.  I’ve also recently discovered that I am a bit more particular then I’d like to admit.  (Let’s just say I recently changed living situations.  The new roomie is definitely teaching me a thing or two about being hospitable.) 

Being open-minded and truly accepting of what life has to offer makes living more fulfilling.  And it gets us closer, in my opinion, to discovering more about who we are and what we have to offer. 

So go ahead!  Share a conversation on the side of the road with a stranger.  (If she’s willing.)  Or say yes to a spontaneous picnic on a park bench with your dear friend.  I don’t care.  Just don’t go sit at the kitchen table with milk and cookies and expect me to show up.

I find myself thinking about family today. I am thinking about how a family and a b&b might go together?

I want to say it’s about choice.

I choose to be a part of a family. And I choose to what extent I am involved. It’s on my end to participate. Being the youngest sibling, I receive many things from my family, but it’s only when I choose to reciprocate that I start to realize what being a family entails.

I choose to own a b&b (in the future). I choose to intertwine my life and my career. As an inn keeper people will come and go quite frequently. Some will return. Most will not. Some will want to engage. Most will not. But regardless, part of owning a b&b for me is to foster an environment where family is felt and known. I choose to provide opportunities for my guests to reciprocate. And guests can choose to be a part of the family. Most will not.

Maybe it’s because the artist down the street will house her masterpiece in one of my guest rooms. Maybe it’s because the barn I own will be studios for local geniuses working out their latest invention. Maybe it will be about neighborhood dinners or the communal breakfasts. Or maybe it’s just the emotion the warm colors on the wall will evoke.

A family experience can happen anywhere. And while it may last a holiday, a weekend, a lifetime, it’s about reciprocating.

The choice is yours.