Why our home is a sanctuary for friends who are struggling
Our home's open-door policy is centered on the value of friendship
My husband, Jared, and I have an open-door policy for our friends. We warmly welcome them, whether they need a place to stay for the night, a safe haven after a tough experience, a spot to relax, or a place to celebrate life’s victories.
In our home, friends become part of our extended family. We simply request that they lend a hand with household tasks to the best of their ability, and treat our family with simple courtesy and basic respect.
We don’t see ourselves as wealthy; we’re middle-income earners, making our living through freelancing and entrepreneurship. Still, we’re deeply grateful for the opportunities life has given us, despite the challenges posed by Jared’s chronic illnesses — hemophilia and epilepsy — and my own mental health hurdles. Sharing our blessings with those in genuine need is our way of expressing gratitude by paying it forward.
Welcoming those who need support
The concept of an open sanctuary for people going through tough times first came to my attention when I joined an anxiety and depression support group. One member of the group shared that their home was always open to other members in need of temporary refuge. They meant it to be a sanctuary for those who felt unsafe in their own homes, were going through a personal crisis and needed someone else’s support, or simply sought a space to recharge and regain their equilibrium.
During special occasions and holidays, this compassionate member, along with their family, would festively decorate their home, often setting up small tents in their spacious yard. These tents served as a comforting retreat for fellow group members, offering respite from their daily struggles.
In contrast, Jared and I live in a small townhouse with limited outdoor space. Our modest three-bedroom home is ideally suited for a small family, yet we’re always ready to rearrange and create room for anyone in need of a safe haven.
Connecting with friends who have their own battles
Ever since Jared and I got together, we’ve noticed that we have a lot in common with friends who are dealing with their own tough battles. Jared has his friends in the hemophilia community, while many of my friends are neurodivergent. Our shared experiences and challenges have created strong connections.
Jared has also faced his share of mental health challenges due to his chronic illnesses, allowing him to easily empathize with our friends who are going through mental health struggles.
Living with chronic and mental illness can be tough, and we’ve learned how important it is to be kind and supportive to someone who needs help. We’ve found that what really matters isn’t how big or fancy your house is but how caring and understanding the people in it are.
We may not have a grand house, but we can certainly provide a nonjudgmental space, a cozy bed, tasty and nutritious food (courtesy of Jared, who enjoys cooking), and some liquor to enjoy. The bottle of soju, a rice-based Korean liquor, that always sits on our bar counter is open to anyone who’d like to unwind or share their feelings with us. While we may not be wealthy, we can always offer our time, our ears, and our understanding.
As we go through life’s challenges, we’ve realized that everyone is on their own unique journey, and sometimes our paths cross. Our own experiences with chronic illness have helped us connect with friends who face different yet equally tough situations. It’s a reminder that kindness and understanding can bring people together, no matter what they’re going through.
By opening our home and our hearts, we’ve discovered that the real wealth is in the friendships we build, and the difference we can make in each other’s lives.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.