The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. — Rumi

I have been brought to this poem several times during the last several months. It seems when I am in most need of being reminded of this I open my Rumi book to the exact page that this poem is displayed on. I am human and as a human I fail and am in need of these reminders.

It is in welcoming and entertaining all the visitors that come to my door that I find most challenging. Visitors of joy, happiness, love, beauty and warmth are always ushered in with fanfare. They are easy guests to welcome with open arms and a genuine smile. The other visitors of sadness, despair, shame, guilt and the darkness are the challenging ones. When the familiar knocking is at the door I cringe and turn a deaf ear to the knocking. I hope and pray that somehow the knocking will cease and I won’t need to answer the visitor at the door. No matter how much I pretend that there is silence at the door the knocking continues and I must answer its call.

I tentatively open the door, peering through the crack surveying the visitor? It is one of darkness. How do I willingly invite this visitor in and meet them at the door laughing? I do not want to swing the door open wide and accept this visitor. I want to say that there is no room in this house. It has been filled with happiness and beauty and there is no room for the ugly, for the unwanted sadness and the suitcase of hardship that it brings with it. The visitor looks at me forlornly and almost apologetically insisting that it has a reservation. It is one that cannot be cancelled. The reservation has been made in advance and there is no turning back.

The answer is in being grateful and thankful in all things that are brought to me. There are valuable lessons to be learned in them and each of these lessons contains wonderful gifts if I am willing to accept them. I realize this and in the moment of becoming aware I let go, re-open the door and begin again. It is an ongoing process of recognizing, being aware and starting again. God has sent this visitor to me and He wishes for me to entertain it with open arms and a smile. Even better if I can find the courage to laugh and entertain them with an open heart.

What guest will be at my door in the morning? I hope for joy, laughter, happiness and ease however if I find shame, guilt, sadness, or some other darkness I pray that I will be able to swing the door wide and say “Good morning, how do you do? What lessons do you have to teach to me today.” I want to learn these lessons well for if I do maybe I will not find you at my door for sometime. There in lies a truth being revealed. Maybe in entertaining these visitors well I will not find them at my door for a very long time. 1 Thessolonians 5: 16-18 Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Who will be at your door in the morning? How will you greet them? Will you be able to answer the door and openly welcome the visitor on the other side? Will you gladly take the gifts they have brought you? God is patiently waiting for you to do just that.

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2 Responses to The Guest House

  1. Tesla Starr says:

    the photo gets my attention, with the checkerboard light and dark, the game board of life. ahh rumi, the great mystc poet and genius, you keep good company my dear. for me as the years go by am less inclined to dwell in the past, the lesson learned, forgiveness all. it is being in the present moment that my joy and true self is found.

  2. Barb says:

    Sometimes if you delay too long in opening the door they will break the door in and trash the place, so it’s best to respond quickly and open the door wide in order to minimize the damage.

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