The Guest House

There is an old poem I’ve been reflecting on lately entitled, “The Guest House.” Excerpts of this poem can be heard on Coldplay’s new album, “A Head Full of Dreams,” which is where I was introduced to the text.

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.


Doorway with Open Door at Greenwood Plantation
Doorway with Open Door at Greenwood Plantation — Image by © Owaki – Kulla/CORBIS

I’ve always been a big believer that everyone who comes into our lives is around us for a reason. Each has a specific purpose to influence us for both good and bad. This poem teach us to “welcome and entertain them all.” The good buoy us up and encourage us to do good in this world. The bad teach us lessons that we sometimes need to learn, and help us grow from each experience, often times even opening up new chapters and possibilities to our life’s potential.

“Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” -Tom Stoppard

This life is too short for us to just let people pass us by; People who have talents and knowledge to share with us. People who can be great friends, memorable colleagues, and even role models.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.”

Everyone has something to teach us. We just have to be open to learning from them.

Let’s be honest. We live in a social media world where it’s now become second nature to live within the confines of a five-inch screen. At home, at work, in public. How many moments do we miss that take place on the other side of that five-inch screen? How can we expect to learn from others if we are constantly distracted by our “social” media?

I’m not writing this as a rant. This is for me. I need to change. I need to spend less time on my phone and look out for more opportunities to be truly social. Because if the door to my guest house isn’t open, how can anyone come in, and consequently, how can I learn from anyone else and grow towards my potential?

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” -Revelation 3:20

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