THE GUEST HOUSE
This is to me a rather jolting poem by Jelaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Muslim scholar, mystic, and poet. I am just getting acquainted with Rumi. Given my work with hospitality regarding homeless and other neighbors, I found “The Guest House” intriguing. Instead of fearing the stranger, the challenge is to welcome and learn what it is they are sent to offer.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
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.