This topic contains 9 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Freva 2 years, 9 months ago.
October 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm #3566
How can we make welcoming places for each other? Queen Sara and her orphans swept and cleaned and made sheets and blankets. They became a family. I think that we, too, sometimes need to find ways to welcome each other and become family, especially when our surroundings are not welcoming.
What sort of unwelcoming surroundings have you experienced? Did anyone welcome you? How, and did it help?
What ways can you think of to welcome people? To make cozy, safe places? Can you think of anyone you would invite to that place? What do you think would happen?
October 6, 2015 at 12:33 am #3780
There are a lot of questions in there and I don’t have much time right now.
I think, to truly make a place cozy and welcoming, hot chocolate goes a long way. Also, acting like you actually like the person and want them around is helpful.
I have other thoughts, more serious but not any more true, but I just can’t devote much time to organizing or expressing them right now, and they refuse to line up neatly without a lot of effort.
October 24, 2015 at 6:17 pm #4038
I’ve been thinking more about how to create that type of cozy, welcoming place and I can think of two big things that I think work together. The two could be taken separately and still have some value, but I’m not sure they can really be “cozy” or “welcoming” without the other part. (This also lets me avoid telling awkward stories about when other people have done this for me, which might make me cry. So let’s just stick to the abstract ideas for today, alright?)
The first part is provide for their practical needs, and if possible to anticipate those needs and meet them before the person has to ask. If someone is hungry and I know it but won’t feed them, it is a silent way of telling them that either their needs are not important to me, or that I don’t intend them to stay very long. No matter how nicely I may say “you are welcome here,” it is hard to actually feel welcomed if your needs are being overlooked, or worse, consciously ignored. By trying to anticipate what someone will need, we can show that we have been thinking about them and that we care about meeting their needs. Sometimes the physical needs are obvious (food, shelter, etc) but sometimes they aren’t “needs” at all, but just small things to try to make the person more comfortable. So in the book, when a bunch of orphans show up, they are going to need places to sleep, sheets and blankets, and food to eat. When someone comes over to visit, it is nice to let them know where the bathroom is BEFORE they get desperate enough to ask. If someone is exhausted, they are going to need a quiet place to sleep and not too much pressure to make smalltalk. If someone is lonely, they need lots of interaction and quiet is much less important. If they are both tired and lonely this gets challenging. Then perhaps you talk to them until they fall asleep, or watch a movie together so they don’t have to talk but can still be around someone else? I guess it depends on the person. I think I have gotten off topic on the “meet practical needs” bit, so I will try to refocus. The chapter Storytime with Artham really captures this idea well, when he is telling Armulyn and the orphans about Anniera. It isn’t magic, exactly, but there is something rather incredible that can happen when we are able to anticipate and provide what another person needs.
But meeting physical needs isn’t enough by itself. After all, prisons provide all that a person physically needs- clothes, food, shelter- but I wouldn’t call them “welcoming.” And the Fork Factory provided what the workers needed physically, but was the opposite of welcoming since they were trying to destroy the children’s sense of identity and personhood. There are other needs that may need attention too. In the example you mentioned, the orphans needed a place to stay, but they also needed family. It wasn’t just by giving them blankets that Sara’s army met their needs, but by welcoming them in and treating them as if they belonged there, by inviting them to be part of that group. This is the part that I don’t know how to put words on very well. There have been times in my life when someone was able to see a deeper need than the physical ones and answer it. Or perhaps they didn’t see it, but their actions still answered the need in me when they were unaware of it. This is where the “liking the person and wanting them around” would fit. Just doing what is needed from duty, or in order to use the person, doesn’t really meet the deeper needs. I think that it is how the two parts come together that creates a real sense of welcome, where people will know that they are valued and wanted and that they can be their real “needy” selves.
Hospitality can be formal or informal and still be real. I’m not saying that pizza on a paper plate is better than a real dinner party. But the focus ought to be on the guest’s needs and not on my performance or what they are going to think of me. I really don’t like reading articles on “entertaining” because all they do is convince me that I can never meet that standard. But I also don’t like to GO to a house where it feels like someone is trying to be perfect, because I am always afraid that I’m going to mess it up or that they don’t actually want me there and I’m just adding more stress. To feel safe and cozy, I need to know that I can be myself, and that the other person can be herself too, and that we are both ok with that. I’m glad that I have had examples of people who really do this, because I am not sure I could have ever figured it out on my own.
November 8, 2015 at 7:08 pm #4506
Some people made a welcoming place for me today. It was made of cuddles from children, words I needed to hear, whispers during the sermon (related to the topic, of course), burritos, and Minecraft.
It helped more than I can express right now. Little things are not always little things. Sometimes they are really big things.
November 10, 2015 at 2:01 pm #4517
When I moved to my new town, I was leaving behind everything that I knew and coming to an entirely new strange place. Our house was a pit, and we could hardly live in it when we moved in. In the midst of this, our church body brought us meals, took us to the beach and swimming, and basically were the hands and feet of Christ to us. My family came to feel at home because of God’s people in our area, in a time when it could have been extremely painful and difficult to transition.
November 12, 2015 at 10:44 pm #4544
I love reading stories like this. Thanks for sharing, Faith.
December 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm #5009
A good totato soup works just about as well as hot chocolate for creating coziness. Cheesy chowder is also an option. I just thought I should inform you all, in case you need ideas.
December 17, 2015 at 9:25 am #5054
Mmmm… Totato soup… That would make me feel very cozy… Mmmm…
January 2, 2016 at 5:03 pm #5238
Ok I think that it feels cozy like if you cook some sort of yummy warm soup.
Home made bread always tastes better than store bought and it leaves the house nice and warm from the oven being on.
You could also clean the house and light some candles.
I have noticed that when you visit someone with a house that is not very warm or clean you do not feel very comfortable.
Also for dinner if the host says that you may eat whatever you want from there kitchen you feel like your intruding.
Well that is my opinion.
There are other things in my mind about this but my mother wants me to help
with dinner so I need to leave.