On Christmas we entertained family and friends for most of the day. We enjoyed every guest that came. But visitors are not always easy to have around. They may come late, stay too long, or forget what they promised to bring. Inevitably someone will do something that unsettles another.
Our feelings are like guests. Some are more enjoyable than others. Yet Rumi invites us to welcome them all. Why? Because we can encounter God in them.
The Guest House
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 are 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 whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
– Jelaluddin Rumi
(translation by Coleman Barks)