Lean on Me, the Joseph's House Blog

Malcolm’s Prayers

It’s late afternoon, nightfall in early December. An hour ago, guided by the soft glow of holiday lights, we accompanied Malcolm’s body outside through the sharp air, from the shimmering darkness of Joseph’s House to the funeral home van. This is what we do at Joseph’s House. We open our hearts and respectfully go the distance with every person who …read more »

Shoppers’ Delight

Yesterday we made our inaugural shopping trip to the Capital Area Food Bank and I can’t wait to go back. Who knew food shopping could be this much fun? We began the application process to become a food bank partner some months back and yesterday’s trip was confirmation of just what a good idea that was. We stocked up on food and paper goods for …read more »

Superman

Barreling down the 200-foot drop on Superman: Ride of Steel, I broke out into laughter that lasted a full minute as we reached speeds of over 72 mph and I flew up off my seat several times on the twists and turns. It was the freest and most exhilarated I had felt in a long, long time. So much fun. I was riding with Thomas, a former Joseph’s …read more »

A Smile That Melts Your Heart

Walking past Chrisann’s room, I saw that the lights were off and a low gray light bathed the room on a rainy, stormy afternoon. Ann and Pat, our two nurses, were both sitting quietly. That struck me as unusual. If I see them together in a resident’s room they are usually busy, cleaning or adjusting someone in the bed, or trying to understand a …read more »

Going Home

This morning one of our residents, a young man with late-stage cancer, flew home to Central America – back to a country and a family he had not seen since he left 11 years ago. His journey home, which actually began several weeks ago, took a small village of people to make happen. When Alberto arrived at Joseph’s House from a local inpatient …read more »

A Dream Coming to Life

We were blown away this weekend to win Make DC’s Designing Dreams competition. Of course, we are thrilled that our dream of a new healing garden as a gateway to Joseph’s House took a huge step forward. As the winner, Joseph’s House will receive $20,000 worth of donated design services to envision and design a fully accessible and welcoming healing …read more »

“Te Iubesc”

Lying in her bed, Colette was teaching a few of us how to say “I love you” in her native Romanian. “Te iubesc,” we struggled to say with an accent that matched hers. Though I first met Colette six or seven years ago, when she first lived at Joseph’s House, it was the first time I’d heard her speak in her native tongue, which she had started to …read more »

Epiphany

January 8th was the fourteenth anniversary of my mother’s death. Seeking a place for quiet and reflection, I was drawn to the National Cathedral. I’ve been an occasional visitor to the Cathedral over my years in the city, but had visited more frequently in the preceding months for events large and small – a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, …read more »

NPR: “A Big Helping of Christmas Compassion at Joseph’s House”

Rachel Martin, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday came for breakfast to get a sense of what Joseph’s House is like around the holidays. The tree was decorated, the lights were up and there was plenty of hot coffee.  There was definitely a sense of holiday cheer in the air, but in most ways the breakfast was like it is on other days. Plenty of …read more »

We’re Ablaze This Advent Season

In the liturgical calendar this is Advent, a welcome time of dark quiet, and waiting.  But at Joseph’s House, we’re on fire. We’re ablaze because of Kenya. Kenya is a fierce, vulnerable young woman with learning disabilities and a drug habit. She’s a mother of two young sons and she’s HIV positive. This past summer, suffering from end-stage AIDS …read more »