Places of Welcome

In Search of Welcome

Here’s a little piece about welcome from Charles E. Rice.  In it he talks about everyone’s search for welcome as a search for ‘home’.

Even better, he says, is giving welcome. When we offer our fellow pilgrims welcome we find “the welcome we ran home to on cold or lonely nights”, it is “portable, elusive and holy”. 

Charles seems to be pointing to the kind of welcome that brings the eternal concept of home into the ordinary experiences we share.

Charles E. Rice

In Search of Welcome

Poets, psychologists, novelists
and such have written of the
difficulty of “going back home.” I
have several times driven up old
Peachtree St. and looked at my
ridge and at the acre of ground
where I came of age. Each time I
didn’t linger. Nor did I weep.

When we look homeward, we are
looking for an old “warm
morning heater” on a cold day.
We are looking for a place where
folks will let us alone after a day’s
hassle with people who won’t.
We are looking for someone who
will hear us after others have said
“shut up.” We are looking for a
place where we can weep when
we are hurting and laugh when
we are happy. We are looking for
a place where we are “welcome,”
in season, and out.

The place of welcome is portable,
elusive and holy. But it is always
home. Every person seeks it for
self. The only thing better than
finding it is providing it, now and
then, for the other pilgrim. When
we momentarily give welcome to
another, we taste the welcome we
ran home to on cold or lonely

Over the years friendships are
made of welcomes to and fro. The
closest friends are those—though
years separate—who give and
receive the welcome which none
others can contrive or deny.
Across time and space such
friendships are the old home-place.

My Peachtree Street and my
Ridge have grown through the
years. But they have not and
cannot become large places or
multitudes. They must remain
somewhat isolated, even proud
places. And I must never take
them, or welcome, as prizes I
have won.