The best medicine

“Ben” is a friend from The Dale who has experienced much struggle, sadness and sickness, but has managed to regain his phenomenal sense of humour. He makes me laugh all the time, and one rainy, dreary afternoon I decided that I needed to start writing down some of his material. So I started a memo on my phone called “Ben jokes”.

I was sprinting past him that day, as he stood on the sidewalk getting soaked. He called out to me, “Jo! It’s gonna rain today! 100% chance of precipitation!” Then he broke into his half-cackle-half-chuckle, and I couldn’t help but slow down and share a laugh with him, getting even wetter but suddenly not really caring.

Another day I was ducking out of drop-in, in search of serving bowls. One of the challenges of having multiple locations is that sometimes we forget where we last used an item, and find ourselves trying to serve a meal, for example, with 6 of our 10 serving bowls missing. At the time I wasn’t sure if they had been left somewhere, or stolen, and so when a group of guys outside drop-in asked where I was going, I said “To get more bowls… I think someone may have taken them. But why would someone want a bunch of serving bowls”? At the time, Ben was lying down and I wasn’t sure if he was even awake… but then, without skipping a beat, he lifted his hat from over his eyes and said, “maybe they were going bowling!” I nearly died.

Just a few days ago I saw Ben at one of our drop-ins. He said, completely straight-faced, “I woke up this morning kind of hungry, so I went and walked back and forth until I got fed up.” While there was probably some truth to that joke, he was looking for a laugh, not for sympathy.

I know it’s horribly cliche, but laughter really is a wonderful remedy. I can’t wait for the next addition to my “Ben jokes” memo 🙂


(“Ben” is on the left, with his ever-present rubber chicken dangling beneath the bench!)

By joannacatherinemoon

I am the Lead Community Worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale, Toronto, ON. The Dale seeks to create safe welcoming spaces in which all people, particularly those on the margins, are encouraged to participate fully, to the best of their abilities and journey together toward a deeper experience of the life God has given us. This blog is meant to help keep my supporters connected with life at The Dale.

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