I have been in London 25 years. Half of my life, to be precise. Long enough to call it “home,” same as many who came before and after me. More than enough to sense that lately it has been a little exploited and not appreciated enough.

Wherever I turn, there often is the reminder than when you open your doors and allow your guest to become a bit too comfortable, things are likely to get messy and your treasured space likely to lose its prestige.

As I walk through the East End it is easy to forget that I am in England, as many different cultures try to coexist.

Too different? Possibly. Can these people seemingly from worlds apart feel at home on foreign land without the need to prevaricate or be weary of others? Maybe.

The other day an English friend of mine pointed out that I too, like everybody else, came here “to take something.” Whether it was the opportunity to start anew, make my dreams come true, or learn to speak the Queen’s English (obviously still working on this one), I took what was on offer.

Sure I did. This country welcomed me in, and I gladly made myself at home, learning all about my generous host while always showing my appreciation the best I could.

Here is something that came to me after chatting to my friend: unbeknownst to most of us, we are all holding space for one another to change the story that has been told since the beginning of time and to heal a wound that still bleeds.

Whenever we impose our story, creed, fears onto others, we are acting out of that wound.

Whenever we turn up at anyone’s home and neglect to show a little respect and appreciation for whoever holds their door open for us, we are acting out of that wound. Whenever we allow them to do so, we are still invested in the very abuse and oppression we wish to erase.

Healing will happen only when we own our part in what created pain and limitation and when we take pride in our heritage, regardless of our history for there is always much more than meets the eye and this world is often so very complex and fragile. Human history has not been written by one hand only, and it will change when we all come to understand and accept our part in it.

While we hope that by saying “Mi casa es su casa” to whoever wishes to come and stay in our home will help us write a new story, I’d say instead, that this will happen when we take pride again in who we are and what we offer. As individuals and as nations. For every space is sacred and must be entered with gratitude and an open heart if we are to enjoy our living together and if we are to start telling the story we are all waiting to hear.

In Grace,
Antonia Lyons
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