I was standing outside The Gateway- a shelter my husband used to direct- removing turkey after frozen turkey from my car, handing them to a few guys staying in the shelter, watching each (15 in total) being carted into the building via bright yellow laundry carts, all so that my caterer friend could cook them for The Dale’s February Feast and I thought, “I have a wild job”.
While I was manoeuvering the turkeys over a very large snow bank I looked up to see the huge smile of one of my Parkdale friends. I had known of some of his recent struggles and that he needed a shelter bed; I didn’t know that he ended up at The Gateway. We got the surprise opportunity to connect and have a really beautiful conversation about his personal growth over the last month.
From there I went to Parkdale Community Health Centre for our Art Drop-In. There I ate pancakes made by a community member, received a precious gift of a lion and a lamb fashioned out of clay, performed first aid on someone’s head, held the hand of someone in crisis, drank too much coffee and reminded people to come on Friday for the feast where I assured them, there would be a lot of turkey.
Joanna and I next went to a community member’s apartment. This person needs to move, but can’t until some things are fixed up. So, we all donned rubber gloves and got to work cleaning and painting. Being in the middle of a massive low-income building can be an eye-opening experience, one that I think all people should be required to have. I found myself thinking again about how wild my days are.
Sometimes when I tell these kind of stories people suggest I should write them down. I usually smile and suggest that all of this will be hard to believe, that “everyone will think I’m embellishing!”. In truth, most days are as varied as the one I am recounting here. I get to journey with a wonderful spectrum of people, experiencing a gamut of emotions every.single.day.
Later in the evening on this same day I joined our outreach team and walked the neighbourhood. We never know what will happen and simply endeavour to have our eyes, ears and hearts open to whoever we might meet and whatever we might learn. On this night we had a number of great chats with people, the topics of conversation ranging from theology to gentrification to politics to music to weather patterns to, you guessed it…