Last week we welcomed strangers into our home to stay overnight. Being able to offer a safe place to rest, food to eat, and the friendly conversation felt incredibly enriching. Our guests were midway on a cycle tour, setting off from their new home in Strasbourg through Switzerland and on to Chamonix in the French Alps. We were slightly apprehensive opening our door, after all, moments to connect with strangers are relatively uncommon, particularly at a time when we are aware of every social contact that we have.
Allowing ourselves to be compassionate and open to other people certainly opened our eyes to the world around us. We knew we would immediately have a shared love of cycling and this paved the way for more enlightening conversation and permission to swap stories from different cultures. What we hadn't expected was a mutual understanding of arriving in a new country to call home and living in a non-native language. Within a short time, over dinner and breakfast, we opened our minds to the experiences of others, and the different challenges faced by so many in the world.
We are all human, with the same needs of shelter, food and warmth. Taking time to truly see other people reminds us that we are all the same. By opening our hearts, in whatever way we choose to do this, we allow a greater sense of love and compassion, without the fears and restraints that can often hold us back. Why would this love and compassion not be just as strong for strangers as for friends? Giving warmth from within can be the greatest gift of all.
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