I just got home from outreach in Parkdale. It was a cold, rainy night, so not many people were out and about. We ended up spending the majority of our time in Tim Horton’s, chatting with friends from the community who had joined us on our walk, and friends that we happened upon at Tim’s. This felt like the loveliest and most natural thing to do. We drank coffee, shot the breeze, tried to crack a “super fiendish” sudoku (with no success), and had a nice time.
Partway through, a middle-aged Tibetan man sitting at the next table leaned over and said to me, “Excuse me… Who are you? Are you a social worker?” I explained that I work at The Dale, and described our community. We chatted for a while, and I learned a bit about his life. He asked me more questions about The Dale, and my role there. He still seemed a little confused, and I could tell that he was trying to make sense of what he was seeing– Erinn and I sitting around, chatting with (what happened to be, in this moment) a group of six somewhat tough-looking older guys… Our friends.
I love that this what I get to do with my time. I love that shooting the breeze with my friends is an important part of my role, because it represents a mutual investment in our relationship. And it’s in the context of relationship that beautiful things can happen.
Like conversations at Bible study last night about the meaning of “fear”, what we fear most, and what it means for Jesus to tell us to fear God in one verse (Matt 10:28), and then not to fear at all, because He knows and loves us deeply, three verses later (Matt 10:31).
Like making phone calls to landlords, and working together to secure housing for a friend earlier today.
Like being told by a friend that she’s starting to knit a head band for me, to keep me warm while I bike in the winter.
It’s only in relationship that these things get to happen. And Jesus showed us by example that it’s by investing time in one another that relationships form. I’m glad that my new Tibetan friend from Tim Horton’s got to see that this is what we’re about, and I hope that I get to shoot the breeze with him in the future too.