Christmas dinner

When we welcome someone it’s about more than opening our door or our home to them. It means giving space to someone in our heart, space for that person to be and to grow; space where they know they’re accepted just as they are, with their wounds and with their gifts. To welcome in this way implies a peaceful heart where others can find a resting place. If the heart is not peaceful, it cannot welcome.”
–Jean Vanier, Community and Growth

When we welcome someone to Joseph’s House we’re expressing the hope that this man, this woman will feel comfortable here. Whoever they are, however long their stay, we hope they will find a sense of ease and belonging at Joseph’s House.

The first expression of Joseph’s House’ welcome is when one of our nurses goes to the hospital to meet a patient who has been referred to us. At the hospital, our nurse gets first-hand information about the needs of the person being referred. Just as important, when they meet our nurse, the patient (who has probably never heard of Joseph’s House) gets a feeling for our community even before they come through our door. This is what we mean by welcome.

media-uploadAt Joseph’s House, welcome is expressed in the way we answer the phone, it’s bringing a tall glass of iced tea to the mail carrier and sitting with a visitor until the person they’ve come to see is ready. Welcome at Joseph’s House is the aroma of fresh baked bread and the danceable volume of the oldies but goodies station. It’s our practice, when someone joins us, to meet as a community to welcome them; our volunteers, residents and staff expressing their heartfelt hope or wish for this, our newest member.

At Joseph’s House welcome also means not needing to know a lot about someone to befriend and respect them; to go the distance with them.

And welcome is a spiritual practice, a way of living. Our friend, Frank Ostaseski, founder of the Metta Institute, taught us the concept, “Welcome everything; push away nothing.” As he says:

“In welcoming everything, we don’t have to like what’s arising. It’s actually not our job to approve or disapprove. It’s our task to trust, to listen, and to pay careful attention to the changing experience. At the deepest level, we are being asked to cultivate a kind of fearless receptivity.

This is a journey of continuous discovery in which we will always be entering new territory. We have no idea how it will turn out, and it takes courage and flexibility. We find a balance. The journey is a mystery we need to live into, opening, risking, and forgiving constantly.”

Welcome to Joseph’s House!