Tag Archives: authenticity

Love and pride


I’ve had a line from a song by Sara Groves running through my brain recently: “love and pride can’t occupy the same spaces, baby, and only one makes you free.”

As this line runs laps around my brain I keep noticing different aspects of it, as I view it through the lenses of various experiences.

As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve had some difficult experiences with a few folks at The Dale recently. During one interaction I needed to acknowledge that I had said the wrong thing at the wrong time. I saw the truth in that Sara Groves lyric, that I couldn’t be loving and self-defensive/prideful at the same time.

In other situations it became very apparent to me that pride is not the same thing as self-respect. Sometimes the most loving thing that we can do is to let someone know that they have crossed a line and need to take a step back. In these scenarios, love and self-respect must occupy the same spaces, and to mix up pride with self-respect is to do a disservice to ourselves and the other person.

Pride vs love.

Self-defensiveness vs self-respect.

These are big topics, which we as a staff team are sorting through, in theory and in practice. The hope and prayer is that as we do, love will make all of us increasingly free.

Super not


At The Dale we talk a lot about being a community where everyone is acknowledged as being a person with gifts to give as well as areas of struggle. When explaining this to people who are just learning about the Dale, we are very clear that this applies to those of us who hold positions of leadership. But if you hang out with us long enough, you’ll learn that the last statement goes without saying.

For example, I have a pretty bad memory. And the community knows it.

I like to blame it on the memorize-and-forget style of learning that I picked up during my undergrad degree (I’ve forgotten pretty much everything I ever knew about biology, chemistry and definitely physics). Or I blame it on genetics–a family trait that my Dad calls “benevolent amnesia”. But the fact remains, I often have the memory of a goldfish.

Folks in the community have adapted to my poor memory, and will call me up to remind me of things. Last summer I was sitting in a park in Nova Scotia when a community member called to remind me to cancel our Second Harvest delivery for the week. Another friend, for whom I run errands, put “memory enhancer” at the top of his shopping list. Concerned, I asked if he’s been forgetting things…and he said “no, that’s for you!” Ha.

This may seem like a silly example, but my inability to keep track of things without writing them down is, among my other areas of struggle, a very constant (and sometimes embarassing) reminder that I am anything but super human. I’m super NOT.  As a people-pleaser who always wants to do the right thing by everybody, it kind of kills me that I drop the ball regularly. And I love that my community and fellow staff members are patient with me, and help me out.

We all have gifts to give, and areas of struggle. Wait, did I already say that? 😉

For real


Some of my favourite times at the Dale are the community prayer times during our service on Sunday afternoons. Here are some excerpts from an especially poignant prayer from a couple of weeks ago:

“Thank you Jesus for dying for us, and living for us, and praying for us, now!… Thank you for this community in Parkdale, where people are real!…We know that you love us, and we love you too… Amen.”

I am often struck by the real-ness of people in this community. Many of us don’t have the resources to cover up our brokenness, which results in a kind of authenticity that is often hard to find in our world of image-management. But it’s not just brokenness that is readily shared, it’s also honest opinions, joy, and affection. I’m thankful that, more often than not, I really know how my friends at The Dale are feeling at any given moment.

I’m thankful that my friend “Pete” was totally open about his grief when he heard that a friend is terminally ill. His openness made it possible for us to offer him support, the way that he offers support to us and many others.

I’m thankful that when I accidentally offended a friend, he let me know, and we were able to work it out. I was reminded of the importance of honesty and forgiveness.

I’m thankful for the way that another friend showed genuine, unmasked wonderment and awe at the sight of a very young baby, who came on outreach with us and his mom the other week. I was reminded that new life is truly marvelous, and should be marveled at.

I’m thankful to be in a community that is real. I, like the person who prayed that prayer, am thankful that God is real, and that Jesus really died for us, lives for us, loves us, and is praying for us… now.