Hospes. A Latin word that has a diametric meaning of both host and guest. As well as one who provides hospitable provision for travelers. Hospes is the Latin root of “Hospitality” and “Hospice”. It is also the word that defines my lifework. The intersection where I am learning how to live a meaningful life.

In 2010 my husband and I got to know a group of twenty-somethings during a 10-day church sponsored service trip to help build a structure in the small town of Corozal, Belize that would double as a sanctuary and a hurricane shelter. Most of the young adults we befriended had just graduated from college and they were navigating the joys and challenges of early adulting. They expressed a shared sense of disorientation in this season of forming a new identity without the primary descriptor of “student”. While simultaneously searching for their unique path of purpose, and making significant decisions about relationships. And after we returned home to San Diego, this dynamic group of post-grads discovered a sense of grounding in this tumultuous time through the roots they formed around my dining room table.

For 10 years young adults gathered in my home for a community dinner twice a week – young woman ate with my family on Mondays, and young men joined my family on Thursdays. They didn’t come into my home merely for food or to be entertained. We gathered to share life. And every shared meal taught me more about the gift of hospitality and the value of inviting people into our home to be truly known.

What started out as dinner with a handful of new friends we got to know on a service trip multiplied as they began inviting friends, roommates, and coworkers. Within a few years we outgrew my dining room table. Even though we enjoyed the familial awkwardness of bumping elbows as we passed food around the table, continued growth wasn’t sustainable.  So our Thursday Night Guys crafted and built a table for our backyard that seats 20. When we gathered around The Table for our inaugural meal, everyone signed their name on top with a Sharpie marker, and a tradition was born. Since that time, everyone who shares a meal at that table adds their name in permanent ink.

For most of my adult life I was a stay at home mom, married to my college sweetheart, raising three sons in a house a few miles from the college dorm where Ryan and I met. In 2017 our oldest son’s college expenses created a need for additional income. Thus at the age of 45, I began my professional career as a Bereavement Coordinator at a local hospice.

Like so many people who make hospice their career, my professional journey began as a door of opportunity that opened unexpectedly and then I discovered a passion for the work after I walked through. At that time I had held a masters degree in social work that I had used primarily for twenty years of vocational work supporting people and small groups in my community. And it was a moment of awe at the beginning of my professional career when I first learned about the word “Hospes” in my hospice orientation.

Hospes is the Latin root word for hospitality and hospice. Beginning my career in hospice at midlife was not a new path. It is a continuation of the journey I have been on for almost three decades. And it is still fascinating to me to find that the methods of offering care that I developed walking closely with recent post grads, inform the practices I am cultivating to walk closely with people navigating the grief that comes at end of life.

Both are about being in the middle space between a defining season of life that has ended before the new season begins. The way forward from that often disorienting space is reforming or identity and purpose, and discovering a renewed perspective of meaningful living. The road through this middle space is often a challenging, emotional, and sometimes dark road. And it is a road that is best to travel with trusted companions.

This online community is a place to find support, education, and camaraderie as we we navigate hard middle spaces and craft a meaningful life.

I’m so glad that you are here.

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