Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.

– Henri J.M. Nouwen, Bread for the Journey


How is your heart in this first week of 2017? Is it feeling open to what’s new or guarded with uncertainty? I want to open a new place in my heart to welcome all that this year will bring.

This calls me to redefine the word Welcome. I feel the tensions in welcoming change, welcoming difference, welcoming conflict, welcoming challenge, welcoming retirement, welcoming new leadership, welcoming fresh ideas. From the global to the local and the personal, 2017 will be a year of welcome – and growth!

Since I began facilitating Courage & Renewal retreats 14 years ago, I’ve experienced the power of our first Touchstone: Give and receive welcome.

This poem by fellow facilitator Estrus Tucker reminds me that it’s an act of courage to give and receive authentic welcome:

There are invitations that can’t be written,
and a welcoming that is deeper than words.
Hospitality abides in the familiarity of a face,
in the embedded trust of shared customs and histories,
and in identities often formed and deformed
by unity and exclusion,
hope and humiliation,
love and lies.

Welcome is not always easy. When we feel others are out to change or challenge us, it’s only human to guard ourselves. But what happens when we experience true welcome and invitation?

When welcome is offered and received, a sense of belonging naturally leads us to relax rather than raise our defenses. It is subtle. Welcome invites us to be vulnerable and connected.

When have you felt truly welcome?

How do you remain open and hospitable to yourself and to others?

I’m looking forward to welcoming all that 2017 brings, with as much courage and openness as I can muster.


Terry Chadsey
Executive Director

P.S. Courage & Renewal practices create the conditions of safe space to experience genuine welcome – of your inner wisdom, of insight, of trust among others. Find a program near you.

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