Talking to someone you don’t know is an introvert’s nightmare. I quickly learned at a young age how to make my way through a conversation that most people wouldn’t think twice about having. I would go on mission trips with my youth group where we would spend a majority of our day talking with people that we had never met before. My main goal was to send the conversation in a direction where I knew I would have to speak minimally. How did I do this? I asked questions. Most people love talking about themselves, so if you ask them questions, you can get them spiraling into a conversation where all you really have to do is smile and nod. What I did not expect to happen was to actually start enjoying speaking to people I didn’t know. I would learn so much in such a short period of time. I would leave each conversation with a newfound appreciation for life and all that it has to offer.
This was one of the main reasons I applied to intern at Hospitality House. I would be surrounded by people I didn’t know, with stories I hadn’t heard and hearts I hadn’t seen. I was SO excited. I was slightly worried that working in the garden would keep me separated from everyone, but just in the first few weeks, I had heard the stories of so many different amazing people. These weren’t just your average stories either. They were powerful, shake you to your core kind of stories. Stories that I couldn’t wait to write down so I could read them over and over again, waiting until they didn’t give me chills anymore (still waiting for that to happen). Sometimes they weren’t even stories, they were just little pieces of conversations that would slowly unfold over the course of the summer. I would make mental notes (or actual notes) at the end of each day about conversations I had so I could make sure to ask follow-up questions the next time I saw that person. I began to create bonds and friendships with so many different people, and I absolutely loved it. As soon as I would get in my car to drive away, I found myself already looking forward to when I would get to return to spend more time with these amazing people.
The other day, one of my friends came to me saying that growing close and creating memories with people makes saying goodbye that much harder. I told her that while yes that is most definitely true, is it not worth it? When I look back at the friendships I’ve created, the stories I’ve heard, and the hearts I’ve seen throughout my time at Hospitality House, no part of me would change a thing. Except I would maybe ask a few more questions :)
So my overall takeaway from my summer at Hospitality House would be:
If you ask a question, make sure you’re really listening to the answer because it just might change your life.