This week at The Dale’s worship service, a dear friend was struggling to keep their tears at bay. They know that we are not afraid of sadness here, but still felt the need to leave the service early, unable to cope with being out and about any longer.
Such intense sadness is not unusual for our friend, but they also have stretches of time when their head comes up above the waters. Later in the week, this friend managed to make it to one of our drop-ins. Partway through their time with us, this friend was heading out for a smoke. One the way out the door, this friend said to me, “I’m having a hard time right now… But this is a place of joy and love. [My partner] wanted me to come here today, and I’m glad that I did.”
This year I have been praying more intentionally and specifically for joy at The Dale’s weekly programming. I also pray for peace, harmony, safety, etc, but because life is so hard for so many people in our community, praying for deep joy during our drop-ins felt like an even bigger “ask”. So when my friend said that The Dale was a place of joy and love, it really struck me. Joy is possible, even in the midst of the tensions, difficulties, and struggles. Thanks be to God.
ps. Here is photo of some of our Monday kitchen crew. It’s unrelated to this post, except that every person in this photo brings a ton of joy to The Dale too!