I was thinking this morning about the importance of family, and being with people through the thick and the thin.
I am very grateful to be part of many families. I have the deep privilege of being surrounded by a vast network of biological/extended/step family members who know and love me. I do not take this privilege lightly.
I am also part of networks of friends who are basically family. I’ve known some of these folks for much of my life, and others I’ve met relatively recently but feel like our souls have known each other for much longer.
I also have the honour of being part of the big, quirky families that are Sanctuary and The Dale. I’ve been reflecting recently on how these communities are family-like in a bunch of real (sometimes uncomfortably real) ways. Take the last few weeks at The Dale for example:
- One of the women who volunteers in the kitchen recently lost her spouse, very unexpectedly. While this friend comes from outside Parkdale, she is very much part of The Dale family. She loves us and we love her. A van-load of folks from The Dale made the trek downtown on a Saturday morning, to attend the memorial service for our friend’s dear partner. Because that’s what families do.
- We had some tough conversations at The Dale over the last couple of weeks, after a few explosive interactions left various parties feeling raw and frustrated. Like all families, we have some strong personalities, and everyone has their own baggage and trigger points. We work hard to communicate well, and some conversations go better than others. We’re a work in progress, but our aim is to increasingly become a family where everyone feels safe and respected.
- This Friday our dear friend (and my fellow Community Worker) Meagan got married to Ian, another dear friend of the Dale. All week long, people were wishing Meg well, and when she and Ian return from their honeymoon we plan on having a Dale-style celebration for these members of our family.
So, yeah. In sadness, in frustration, in joy, we’re with each other. Thank you to all of you, who by your support, prayers and readership, are part of our extended Dale family. We’re in this thing together.