When we lived in Bishop we celebrated a night of Las Posadas every year at our church. For those of you not familiar with Las Posadas, it is a remembrance of Joseph and Mary’s search of lodging on their way to Bethlehem. In the traditional Las Posadas, the journey is celebrated over nine nights, with the Pedir Posada (seeking lodging) being sung back and forth between people representing the peregrinos (pilgrims) and the posaderos (innkeepers).
The peregrinos ask for lodging, telling the posadero how long they have traveled, and that their wife is soon to give birth. The posadero tells them that there is no room, and that they will have to move on. Finally, the peregrinos tell the posadero that have a they are traveling with Mary, the queen of Heaven, and the posadero bids them enter. Inside everyone gathers for prayer, songs, and a party. The children have a piñata, and everyone enjoys a wonderful meal.
I’m telling you about Las Posadas not because Christmas is coming, but because Mary and Joseph found lodging. It wasn’t the best lodging, as you will recall, but someone opened a door. Last fall our brother Howard Guetherman brought up the subject of hotel rooms. He shared his problems trying to find an accessible room on the ground floor, and wondered how many of us had similar problems finding rooms that suited our needs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, he thought, if we could get hotels more interested in making hotel rooms more accessible and welcoming?
I recently learned of a new website that gives us a chance to rate hotel rooms based on their accessibility. https://www.brettapproved.com is a site established by wheeler Brett Eising, who left his job in corporate America to start brettapproved because he believes that everyone, regardless of any given disability or mobility challenge, deserves to travel confidently. The site lets users review and rate hotels, restaurants and entertainments venues. While brettapproved is in its infancy, and reviews are slim in many areas, your participation will help us all. You can sign up to be a participant at the website. Guidelines for reviews are listed at https://www.brettapproved.com/faq. I have signed up and can’t wait to find more accommodating lodgings when I travel.
I think that as brettapproved grows, hotels and restaurants will start to pay attention. Communicating with hotels and restaurants directly, as Howard did with the hotel over his inappropriate room on the third floor (how to get a wheelchair and user safely down to the ground floor in case of a fire?) is also important, being sure to do so calmly and respectfully.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2
Dear Lord, We thank you for the new resources that you put before us to help one another as we search for a home away from home. Help us to educate each other, and the places where we stay, to be more welcoming and accommodating. Amen.