Tag Archives: The Dale

Showing up

Standard

I realized anew last week that a big element of being in community is simply being willing to show up for each other.

Showing up at the hospital when a friend is facing a scary health crisis.

Showing up to a musical friend’s gig.

Showing up every week to help cook a big meal with a team of friends.

Showing up to Bible Study to read, listen, pray and share ideas with friends.

Showing up to remember a friend at a funeral or memorial.

I am so grateful for the way that folks at The Dale keep showing up in these, and many other, ways. And I’m grateful for the privilege of being able to show up for these friends.

Last week Erinn, Meagan and I showed up for a friend in court. It struck me, again, that all we really needed to do was show up. We had already written letters in support of our friend, and were willing to speak on this friend’s behalf if we were called upon to do so. But all that was required of us today was to sit, wait, go outside for a few smoke breaks, sit, wait, eat some chocolate bars, sit, wait, and then finally accompany our friend into the court room.

There, our friend’s lawyer pointed us out as people from “the church” who had written support letters, the judge acknowledged our presence and thanked us for coming… and that was it. That was the extent of our involvement, but, amazingly, it seemed to mean something to those making a big decision in the life of our friend. Just showing up.

Again, I’m so grateful for the people who keep showing up at The Dale, and for me in my life outside The Dale. You may not know that your presence particularly matters, but it does.

 

Advertisements

Camp

Standard

This past weekend about thirty of us from The Dale went up to Camp Koinonia. It was an adventure, from start to finish!

This year we had a number of strong personalities on the trip, and a couple of folks with significant mental health struggles. The combination of these factors led to some tension on the bus ride up, a few spectacular blow-ups during the weekend, and more tension on the bus ride back (which also involved getting a flat tire on Highway 400). Good times.

That being said, all of these tense situations were handled in the moment, everyone stayed safe, and the difficult moments were far outnumbered by the beautiful ones.

One of my favourite parts of the weekend happened on the Saturday afternoon. As I wrote in my last blog, I had promised a friend (Kim) that I would paddle across the lake while she swam. In the end, another friend, Tim, did the paddling, and Erinn and I joined Kim in the water! It was chilly, refreshing and wonderful. A large-ish group of folks cheered us on from the shore as we swam from the camp beach to a rocky point partway across the lake and back again. Meagan and her fiance Ian paddled out to heckle us, and Cate (Erinn’s daughter) made her way out on a paddle board to accompany us on the way back. It was great.

Another beautiful period of time was during a hike into the forest behind the camp. We enjoyed some amazing scenery, breathed lots of fresh air, got a tiny bit lost, and found our way back to the trail. After returning from the hike, a community member who had never been up to camp with us before said that it felt like a whole other world, being out in the woods like that. Her face was glowing with joy and hard-earned perspiration.

At the end of the weekend a number of people said they’d like to stay up north forever 🙂 Despite the difficult moments, we were reminded again how important it is to take some time out of the city, as a community. Looking at the stars, singing campfire songs, working on puzzles, being outside almost all day… These are good, good things, for which we are collectively grateful.

Returning from the big swim!

Resurrection hope

Standard

Back in December, Erinn and I heard through the grapevine that a dear Dale friend had passed away. We sought out confirmation, but neither the hospital, the police, nor the coroner’s office had any news for us.

So we held onto hope that we would see him around the neighbourhood…but the days turned into weeks, which turned into months. Erinn and I both wrote blogs about him, in attempts to process our sadness that he seemed to be gone.We were contemplating holding a memorial, but didn’t feel right about that since we didn’t actually know if he had died.

And then, through the persistence of another dear friend, we discovered that he was alive, and safe!! Erinn and I went to see him yesterday, and it was like seeing someone who had been raised from the grave. While he isn’t well physically, he is living, sober, and still very much his hilarious, grumpy self. It was SUCH a joy to see him, and I can’t wait to go see him again.

As Easter nears, I am so grateful for this reminder that resurrection hope is real. While this friend will eventually pass away, along with the rest of us, death does not have the final word. Hope will not disappoint us.