Beauty, Wonder & Gratitude

At the entrance to the garden is a plaque with the words of the activist Vito Russo from 1988, some of the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic. He said, “Someday, the AIDS crisis will be over. Remember that. And when that day has come and gone, there will be people alive on this earth --- gay people and straight people, men and women, black and white …read more »

Our Healing Garden Comes to Life

At Joseph’s House we are bringing to life a beautiful new healing garden – accessible to all of our residents, neighbors, and friends. The garden’s elegant, broadly curving ramp, now our main entrance, announces that for Joseph’s House providing full access for anyone who uses a wheelchair or a walker is our joy. The garden invites all who see it …read more »

Fall on Your Knees

Sitting in the nave of the National Cathedral last week, I felt shivers as we sang “O come ye to Bethlehem” with those gathered at Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem itself. It was the first time I had attended the Cathedral’s annual Christmas Prayer Service that connects the two churches via simulcast. The prayers and songs ring from both …read more »

The Week the Trees Fell and a Tyrant Rose

Last Tuesday, as neighbors walked by on their way to the polls, four of the beloved birch trees in the Joseph’s House garden were reduced to mulch, their stumps the only reminders of the majestic trees whose leaves had captured the afternoon sun with a particular sparkle. The day before, we had started construction on our new healing garden …read more »

The Hard Work of Living

Recently when the weather was softening a little and the trees were almost in bloom, Dwight finished breakfast, left the table to smoke a cigarette on the porch and walked away from Joseph’s House. For months he had been longing to get back to the part of town where he had lived most of his life. Much of Dwight’s adult life had centered around a …read more »

The Gifts of God for the People of God

As a child, Communion was my favorite part of going to church. Being Methodists, we only took Communion once a month and when we did, we stayed in our pews as brass trays with tiny juice glasses were passed from person to person. The infrequency of Communion and those little juice glasses themselves—fascinating miniatures much like my Matchbox …read more »

Keeping Close in the Darkness

We are in the season of darkness. This year we can really feel it, can’t we? Sometimes the dark can bring us closer. We pray for healing, we hope for liberation. Other times, we feel such confusion and helplessness that we actually don’t want to know about each other anymore. We grow distant. We grieve. What does this Advent darkness ask of …read more »

Lessons from the Shopping Mall

I was surprised when the Just My Size catalog of women’s undergarments arrived in my mailbox. I’d forgotten that I used my home address to ship some bras I purchased for one of our former residents and I was now clearly in their database as a good customer. Before joining the Joseph’ House staff, I couldn’t have imagined that bra shopping would …read more »

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 »