Garrett, an outgoing Jesuit Volunteer at the Downtown Chapel in Portland, OR, prefers to mix “good-byes” with “hellos.”
“The Downtown Chapel is first and foremost a place of hospitality, where people meet, exchange stories, wipe tears, and make music together. Although this sense of ‘togetherness’ floods our entire building, this fact remains: many are on the move looking for more permanent placements with work, for housing, for a long-lost sister, or for brighter days. For this reason, my last week here in the Hospitality Center is different from how I anticipated it. For each ‘good-bye’ and ‘thank you for everything’ I have received, I have also received a ‘nice to meet you’ or a ‘wow – I didn’t know you did that here!’ The cycle repeats itself: people come and people go. The trick is learning how to love – how to invest in a world that is constantly on the move.
With the guests and the volunteers at the Downtown Chapel, I’m slowly learning; may we learn to live ‘welcome’ just as emotionally as we can say ‘good-bye…'”