One of the great privileges of being in a community like The Dale is that we see each other at our best, as well as at our worst. I often reflect on this, especially when I interact with paramedics, police officers, and other professionals who mostly see my friends when they are in crisis. I am so thankful that I get to see (and be seen) on the peaks, and in the valleys.
I’m grateful that I get to go to the Art Gallery of Ontario with Chevy, as well as visit her in hospital.
I get to hear the deeply faith-filled and profound statements of “Matt” when he is sober… and the less coherent and sometimes inappropriate things he says when he is drunk.
I get to enjoy the cheeky humour and the genuine pastoral concern of “Donna” when she has been taking her medication, and I also bear witness to the paranoia and confusion that she experiences when she hasn’t been.
Similarly, my friends at The Dale see me nearly every day, and can tell when I’m not okay. They see me when I laugh, and when I cry; when I’m excited and when I’m angry.
I am so grateful for the peaks, and for the privilege of accompanying/being accompanied through the valleys.
I just got off the phone with a dear Dale friend, whose young son was recently discharged from Kingston General Hospital after a close shave with a serious illness.
This friend came to The Dale three Mondays ago in great distress. He had been in hospital himself for a number of months, and when he was discharged he discovered that his room had been rented out. The letters to his landlord explaining his absence had been returned, and his belongings were gone. He was left homeless, with nothing to call his own.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then received a phone call informing him that his son was in the ICU in Kingston. When he arrived at The Dale our friend hadn’t eaten or slept, and felt that he was about to have a break down. He had walked well over an hour on a bad knee to get to us, because he thought we might be able to offer some hope and help.
After hearing him out, we were able to secure a train ticket to Kingston for the next morning, along with a grocery card to tide him over. Thanks to the generosity of some friends from Kingston, he was able to get a cab from the train station to the hospital and back again. He spent the whole afternoon with his son, and returned to Toronto late in the evening.
Our friend called us the next day to let us know that he had made it back safely, and to express his gratitude. And very recently, as I’ve already said, he called to let us know that his son has been released from Kingston General, and will be okay. Our friend said that he’s been able to sleep these last couple of weeks, having seen his boy with his own eyes.
While our friend is still meeting with a housing worker to secure a permanent place to live, he is hopeful and highly motivated to find a space where he can have his son come to visit. I hope and pray that a space like this will become available for him soon. In the meantime, I am SO grateful that we were able to get him to Kingston; that this piece of the puzzle actually came together. And I’m grateful for our network of supporters that helped this to happen.