A couple arrived at my door last night. They were looking for a room close to the funeral home where the service would be held for the husbands mother. The funeral home is 1 block from our bed and breakfast. The couple wanted to look at the place first as they had never stayed at a bed and breakfast before and weren't sure about it. I explained that staying at a bed and breakfast is like staying with friends, except we just met.
I have recently heard the definition of A Calling as the intersection between a deep hunger in the world and our desire to serve or meet the need.
There is a deep hunger in the world that penetrates culture, economic status, geographical location or intellectual knowledge. It is the disconnect between people. As society has become more global the connection between people has lessened. This is evident as we attempt to be more professional, we are more occupied and take less time to actively engage with others. I have found my calling, inviting people from around the world to allow me to host them for a night or a month. We become a part of each others story, not simply an account number or room number.
One afternoon a few months ago my doorbell rang. An older man (I came to learn he was 83 years old) was on the other side of the door. He had walked from the Greyhound bus station, 2 1/2 miles away to my house. Mr. Andrews is from Scotland, he took the QE2 from London to New York and from there a bus to Indianapolis. He was in Indiana for the sole purpose of going to Goodland, Indiana. Mr. Andrews was on a geneological search. His fathers uncle lived in Goodland, Indiana in the 1880's. The more I listened to my new Scottish friend, the more I knew I wanted us to be a part of his story. Unfortunately transportation in Indiana is limited. Unless you have a car it is quite impossible to get from Indianapolis to Goodland. I made arrangements to take Mr. Andrews to Goodland the following Monday. The house his uncle lived in has been demolished. The farm land, the town, the little cafe where we had lunch, they will remain in all of our memories for years to come. Mr. Andrews is a friend I would not otherwise have, if not for providing accommodation to out of towners.
My greatest joy in operating a place of accommodation in my home is all the fascinating people I meet. These are not movie stars, rock singers, famous athletes or corporate CEO's. They are mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, they are writers and artists, they develop robots and work at universities. The people we have encountered are, however, FAMOUS. They are known by their gifts of love, courtesy, morning smiles and evening greetings. They will be a part of the fabric of our lives forever. My intent has always been to provide more than a comfortable bed and adequate breakfast at a more than reasonable price. I strive to connect with people, serve them as they go out and contribute in their communities, to listen as they explode with joy at the birth of a new grand child or give condolences as they grieve a loved one. Many times the new friends are not experiencing anything so dramatic while in town. Often they are simply attending a conference or sporting event, nonetheless conversation often circles to real life, family, love, marriage, divorce, the future and the past.
I have been blessed to have so many "friends" share my home.