A Lesson in Hospitality

I really enjoyed this extraordinary film: Florence Foster Jenkins (Trailer 2016).

In many ways it is a story of true hospitality – the creation, and in this case, the maintenance, of space for the other – not to change the other but to release the other to be who they are, no matter how flawed.

Such hospitality is transformational – but in this case, it’s the hearers of hilariously bad singing who are won over to create the space in their hearts for this amazing woman.

Florence Foster Jenkins is tone deaf. What she hears in her head and what comes out of her mouth are distinctly different things!

But music is her life. She is totally committed to sharing music for the benefit of others and her passion to sing is unbounded. It’s not her singing that wins, it’s her unstinting generosity, belief and courage, nurtured and protected by the paradoxical unfailing love of her husband and the wisdom of her complicit supporters.

Yes, Nouwen’s concept of hospitality as making space for the other and the transformations that result are good lenses with which to view this film.




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