Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 5- $1 a day

Being hospitable is a big value of mine. I love having people over for dinner or for theme parties. I like to keep it informal, but go all out with home cooked dinners, artfully arranged platters of food, wine and cocktails in their proper glasses. I sincerely want to be generous and make people feel special when they come over here.

I'm in a small group of 3 other women who meet every other week to discuss life, the vows our faith community has taken together, and our spiritual lives. We were scheduled to meet at my house tonight. Since most of us come straight from work, the host usually provides some light snacks. I grappled with the question of how to show hospitality when I only have $1 a day to spend. If I bought snacks for my small group, that would possibly take food out of my own mouth towards the end of my 40 day experiment.

I’ve been to the Philippines two times, and have stayed in some impoverished towns. At the end of each stay our hosts threw a big banquet where everyone from the community added something to the feast. I noticed that some people shyly contributed a simple pot of white rice to our dinner, and I wondered how many of them had dipped into their family’s meager stash of food in order to feed us Westerners. They are poor and yet they contributed with a smile on their faces. And that is hospitality.

Hospitality focuses on the guests not the host. I have an experiment going on, but I still want to bless my friends- not with a lavish party platter, but by offering what I have to give. So tonight I popped some popcorn (the old-fashioned way, in a pot!), and sliced one orange, one apple, one pear, and two carrots, and served some peppermint tea. The evening’s food and drink cost me about $1.96 and I am happy that I got to share what I have. Even if I end up running out of money by Day 38 and have to fast for 2 days, I think I did the right thing. I will be happy to remember that I valued hospitality enough to make a sacrifice for it—just like my rice-toting friends in the Philippines.


  1. Did your friends eye the apple suspiciously?

    Mel, something interesting happened to me as I was reading this. I calmed down for a second. I breathed with depth and ease. Bearing witness to your commitment to simplicity, subsistence and community (with the poor majority of the world) somehow brought a moment of transcendence for me.

    Don't worry, I'll be back to my cocktail swilling, cappuccino quaffing ways in a second!

    But thanks.

  2. Most excellent decision Melanie! Way to go.

  3. HA! Ed, good catch about the apple. But actually, it truly was another apple that I had bought. I ate the street apple.

    And your comment is beautiful about your own transcendent moment. You are a wonderful writer, Ed.