Hospitality

Last weekend Max had the opportunity to attend a town picnic. He is not around large groups of people very often, but when he is, he knows how to have a good time.

He especially knows how to have a good time if there is a playground around.

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But what stood out the most that afternoon was how Max was often the center of attention. From babies to elderly individuals, Max was a magnet for attention.

And Max taught me a lot in the way he responded to the people all around him.

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Max first and foremost has a welcoming presence. He is authentically excited to be around people and to share life with them.

But what he really taught me at the picnic is the importance of being radically open to all people. Max holds no prejudice. He makes no judgment about the person. He just wants to share a moment with everyone he can.

Of course he will undoubtedly like someone more if he or she has food in his or her hands, but beyond that he is honestly excited to see everyone.

I do not think Max is so open to everyone because he cannot see difference. He acts differently with babies compared to adults. So he does not ignore difference, he just does not allow that difference to color how he perceives a person or to influence whether or not he will interact with the person.

Moreover, I do not think Max is open to people as a means to some end. He is not out to convince people of anything (except maybe how cute he is) and he does not expect anything for himself from the connection.

Rather he is just authentically happy to make the new connection, to get to know someone new for the sake of knowing the person and participating in a moment of love.

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In his expression of radical hospitality, Max has taught me to worry less about whether or not the people around me are interesting or friendly or even good. He’s taught me to worry less about what they may think of me. He’s taught me not to enter any encounter with preconceived notions about the person or about what either of us can do for the other. Rather, I should welcome a connection with a person just because he or she is another person.

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So thank you Max for continually welcoming me into your life without any judgments and without seeing me as a means to some personal end. Thank you for leading me to do the same for other people so that we may honestly and openly connect with anyone with whom we come into contact.

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