November 2022 Edition

What does it take to make a house a home? And why is it so expensive? No — sorry, that’s the wrong question. You’ll have to forgive me, but I discovered extensive water damage in my house this week and a neighbor’s tree fell on some power lines. They’re replacing windows now — it’s been a lot! 

So back to the first question: what does it take to make a house a home? I’ve been on that journey for a while now with my 1949 bungalow. Paint, furniture, patches, decor — it all is quite nice and fun to fix this fixer-upper, but no piece of decor is ever the answer. Hospitality is. Without it, even the most well-appointed homes still sit empty. 

The real answer is who you welcome into your home. Like last Thanksgiving, when I had a motley crew of friends who also couldn’t make it home for the holiday for one reason or another. Some were like me and couldn’t manage the cost of flights, some didn’t feel welcome with their biological families, some were just happy for a second serving of turkey. 

My house has never felt so warm as that day — and that’s what we’re exploring this month at Grotto as the fall air starts to turn. The warmth of hospitality, the power of welcome, and stories of people who have taken truly radical steps to extend it to the most marginalized and neglected.

—Javi Zubizarreta

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